Plan for new home in Gedney Drove End countryside may set precedent

Gedney Drove End news.  Photo: SG160317-139TW.
Gedney Drove End news. Photo: SG160317-139TW.
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A Gedney Drove End couple are taking on a central pillar of UK planning guidelines with their “barn-style country house” in the village.

Craig Ward and his wife, owners of the former Onslow House Residential Home, want to build a two-storey house for themselves on the grounds of the one-time care home which is now on the market.

There are a number of problems associated with this development which the couple have attempted to overcome as it’s considered to be a house in the open countryside

Coun Andrew Parks, vice chairman, Gedney Parish Council

The plans were discussed by Gedney Parish Council members during a meeting last Tuesday, with the fact that new housing in the “open countryside” is tightly controlled under government guidelines high on their minds.

Under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a guide to new developments in the UK, planning authorities like South Holland District Council “should avoid new, isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances”.

During the parish council meeting held in Gedney, Mr Ward said: “We have tried to design a sympathetic, but innovative, barn-style country house with some unique features that will hopefully sit nicely within the surrounding area.

“It would also meet the special criteria of building a single dwelling in the countryside.

“We have consulted the planning department (at South Holland District Council) about our proposal, discussing the positives and negatives about our application, and we have tried to involve relevant parties prior to it.”

Exceptions to the NPPF’s “open countryside rule” include the need to provide accommodation for rural workers, the re-use of a redundant building, preserving a heritage site or “the exceptional quality/innovative nature of the design”.

Coun Andrew Parks, Gedney Parish Council’s vice chairman, said: “Mr and Mrs Ward put in a considerable amount of effort to let people know about their plans and they appear to have done a good job.

“There are a number of problems associated with this development which the couple have attempted to overcome as it’s considered to be a house in the open countryside.

“I think this is a really interesting, unusual and contentious application, something I think is going to come up in the future for various reasons.

“My own personal opinion is that the application isn’t outstanding or innovative enough and so I don’t think I can support it.”

However, Coun Parks was the only member who voted in favour of objecting to Mr Ward’s plans as four other councillors chose to send it to the district council’s planning committee for a decision.

One of the four, Coun Mark Snow, said: “It’s significantly different to anything else that’s been built in the area and it will stand out from everything else that’s around it.

“But it’ll stand out in a perfectly reasonable way.”