Eco Home Plans On St Martin’s Deferred

An architect's sketch of the proposed building

Councillors have deferred a decision on plans for an eco-friendly home on St Martin’s after members expressed concerns over the site and design.

And they called on the Duchy of Cornwall to do more to help young people secure building plots.

Christine Savill said the Duchy, “do have something to answer for,” claiming the landowner resists going to other tenants to ask to give up land for building for local need property.

Chris said, “They are negating their responsibility if it is unused tenanted land.”

Chris spoke out as Councillors discussed an application by Jonathan Smith for a sustainable single storey home in an agricultural field on the edge of the settlement of Middle Town.

The 6.8m by 6.4m douglas fir clad house would feature a ‘living’ sedum roof and a conservatory with an aluminium roof.

Fred Ticehurst disliked it calling it a, “converted garden shed” but Richard McCarthy had more sympathy for the plans and applicant.

He believed the green credentials, which included sheep’s wool and hemp insulation, would have, “Prince Charles knocking on the door and asking for a bed for the night.”

Members discussed what would be a better style of home to blend in with the eight other houses in Middle Town.

Chris Hopkins felt the cedar wood design was sensible although he questioned the feasibility of finding and supplying granite for retaining walls, which was thought to be a material, ‘in keeping’ with the surroundings.

He felt it would be difficult supplying the stone for homes in the future, but Marian Bennett disagreed and felt you could ‘gesture’ towards granite with sills and render mixed with the stone.

But Councillors John Goddard, Chris Savill, Marian Bennett and Fred Ticehurst were still concerned by the proposed site and design.

Marian said it would, “strike a jarring note” and “deflect the eye away from that wonderful nestled look at Middle Town.”

John said it was not in keeping and he couldn’t find evidence for the endorsement of the Duchy, which was implied in the application.

John had told the Duchy Land Steward he was “aghast” by the plans and claimed the land Steward agreed with him.

Councillor Goddard warned that the plans were, “alien to the area” and would, “damage the natural beauty of the area.”

He was also concerned they would set a precedent.

The planning consultant had recommended approval and Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, said the applicant had amended plans so the structure was half a metre lower. This followed concerns from the AONB about the impact of the development on the skyline.

Craig felt a hill would block some views of the building but agreed that the proposal was “marginal” and was planned for rising land, which would be visible.

Chris Savill was worried about removal of the bank in front and John Goddard said it had been a dumping ground and could be liable to subsidence.

Craig Dryden said conditions could be added to planning consent requiring clearance of glass and waste material on the site, adding that building regulations would deal with ground stability.

There have been two local, written objections to the plans and for much of the debate it appeared that members were going to overturn the officer’s recommendation.

But instead members agreed to visit the site before making a decision at the next planning meeting.