Councillors refuse plans for Craven’s 'most environmentally-friendly house ever'

Saturday, 8 July 2023 00:40

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors have refused plans to build a home in Cowling that was claimed to have the most environmentally-friendly design ever seen in Craven due to its visual impact on the countryside and a Grade II listed building.

Skipton and Ripon’s planning committee met on Tuesday to consider a plan by Julian Wood to demolish a garage that is attached to the listed Norwood House near Cowling in order to build a two-bedroom eco-house.

Plans for the property include solar panels, a heat recovery system, triple glazing, an air source heat pump, a thermal design and rainwater harvesting.

Designs also feature a flat roof covered with grass to so it would blend into the surroundings.

But with strict planning rules in the open countryside, councillors were told the plans would have to be truly exceptional in order to be approved.

An officer read out a statement on behalf of Mr Wood, who said his family wanted to downsize from Norwood House where they currently live.

He said: “Understandably, planning policy sets a high bar for applications like this and rightly so. We believe the combination of high design and environmental standards will create a dwelling that’s considered to be the outstanding design that’s required by policy.”

Green Party councillor for Aire Valley, Andy Brown, argued the house was sufficiently innovative to be approved, despite its location and not being identified for development in the local plan.

He said: “It is genuinely exceptional. There’s nowhere in our area that meets these standards and it’s basically unique in its design.

“There’s nothing of a similar design in Craven. It’s not putting a few solar panels on to squeeze it past the committee.”

But independent councillor for Skipton East & South, Robert Heseltine, said the new building would be a “permanent carbuncle” on the Grade II listed traditional Dales farmhouse and claimed it would be more suited to Dubai rather than the Craven countryside.

He said the plans have “nothing going for it whatsoever” and “must never see the light of day”.

Conservative councillors David Ireton, Nick Brown and Nathan Hull all commended the application for its environmental credentials but said its location was not suitable. It was ultimately refused by 4 votes to 2.

The applicant can appeal the decision.

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