New Dwelling Approved On St Martin’s

An application to build a single-story dwelling in a field outside Middle Town on St Martin’s has been approved by planners, although the impact on the skyline will still need to be assessed.

The two-bedroomed, wooden building with natural sedum roof, had previously been rejected on a different site on the island.

Bill Wilson said the proposed dwelling contravened a policy of the Local Plan, which states that any new dwellings needed to lie within existing settlements, as this property would lie outside Middle Town in a field containing a holiday chalet.

However, in an accompanying letter, the applicant said planners had not taken into account the “extreme difficulty” in obtaining a suitable building plot on St Martin’s and his need for somewhere that allowed him to continue running his farming business.

He added that if this application had been for a holiday property, this condition would not have applied, even though the impact would have been the same.

Bill said that the design of the building would reduce its impact, but he felt it could be seen on the skyline from a number of points. He recommended refusal of the application.

Councillor Chris Savill disagreed with that recommendation. She felt that this site was suitable because of the design of the building, and it would look incongruous sited within Middle Town.

She felt it was a modest size and sat within a natural dip with a backdrop of conifer trees, which would screen the view of the building on the skyline.

And she felt the existing water tanks on the site looked far worse than the proposed building.

Councillor Roy Duncan said he was unsure whether the building would be visible from St Martin’s Bay, a landscape he described as “totally unspoilt.” Bill said he was not certain either and Councillor Dudley Mumford was hesitant to support it until they were.

Councillor John Goddard was worried that this could set a precedent on the islands.

Chris proposed approval subject to conditions including designation for local needs accommodation and that the final ground levels were submitted. She wanted no building started before October to avoid disturbance to the neighbouring holiday chalet.

Councillors approved that proposal.