Off the peg

An inspector has refused the redevelopment of a house in a suburban village in Surrey with two dwellings (DCS Number 400-032-382), on the grounds that the site required an individualistic approach.

The inspector judged that two dwellings of an appropriate size and design had the potential to be accommodated without causing harm to the character and appearance of the area. Nevertheless, he found that the mirror image design, in a locality characterised by a predominance of individuality of dwelling siting and appearance, was a major drawback of the appeal proposal. While he found the proposed design in itself acceptable he considered that its replication in handed form for both dwellings would be too akin to a formulaic approach to design and house type as adopted by volume builders. This concept, he remarked, was frequently used in estate development, albeit in the case before him it would be with upmarket buildings. However, he considered that the handed pair would draw the eye and be perceived as harmfully inappropriate in a locality, which even outside the nearby Residential Area of Special Character, had the difference in the design and appearance of each dwelling as one of its major character assets.

The inspector determined that the proposal, due to its homogeneity in design, would be in conflict with the development plan, the council’s Local Distinctiveness Guide and the NPPF.

The scope of design control is covered at section 4.132 of DCP Online.