A Government inspector had harsh comments for John Humphrey who had hoped to build four houses at Wisbech St Mary. The inspector, K Ford, said that Mr Humphrey “has indicated that the scheme would meet the aspirations of the council’s planning committee.
“There is little before me to substantiate this from my reading of the minutes of the planning committee meeting and the fact that the council refused the planning application. I give little weight to this as a consequence.”
Fenland District Council refused, claiming the houses were beyond the existing built-up edge of the village and would extend “the developed frontage into the countryside.
“Development encroaching into this land would erode the open character and appearance of the countryside, exacerbated by the requirement for the finished floor level to be +1m above existing ground level.
“This would result in a cumulative dominance and thus failing to make a positive contribution to local character and the street scene.”
The inspector agreed, pointing out that the site “is a grassed agricultural field that provides a notable gap between a line of residential properties and Sand Bank Farm.
“The scheme would lead to the development of up to 4 dwellings beyond the built-up edge of the settlement, extending ribbon development into the countryside. The impact would be exacerbated by the absence of built development on the opposite side of the road which distinguishes the proposal from the planning permission granted on neighbouring land.
“The scale of the development with up to 4 dwellings proposed also makes the scheme before me different from that which has been granted planning permission”.
He added: “Irrespective of the final design of the scheme, built development as proposed would harm the character and appearance of the area.
“The development would provide up to 4 dwellings on the edge of a growth village. However, the benefits of this are outweighed by the harm identified.
“The development would also extend a footpath, improving pedestrian access into the village from the site. Nevertheless, it would largely be to mitigate the impact of the development which limits the weight I attach to it.”
Wisbech St Mary parish council had supported Mr Humphrey, claiming the four plots would be within the village boundary and not in the open countryside nor an ‘elsewhere’ location.
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