A bid by church authorities to build a house at a riverside beauty spot near Huntingdon has been thrown out.
Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council ruled that the proposed house and garage would harm the settings of the listed All Saints church in Hartford and the adjacent listed properties.
They also said that the development, in the grounds of the former vicarage in Church Lane, would detract from the conservation area.
Ely Diocesan Board of Finance had sought full planning permission to build the four-bedroomed house, garage and new access.
Planning documents submitted on behalf of the board of finance described the building as an “exemplar of sensitive contemporary development”.
The Grade II starred church, which dates back to the 12th Century, is in an attractive setting next to the River Great Ouse and off a narrow lane fronted by the number of historic houses.
In rejecting the application, the district council said: “The proposed dwelling is not considered to sustain the character of the conservation area as it permanently changes the undeveloped nature of the site.
They said: “The proposal is therefore considered harmful to the significance of the conservation area and the settings of the listed buildings, All Saints Church and 4-6 Church Lane, and there is considered to be a loss of significance from the development of this undeveloped site.”
Planners added that the non-traditional design and materials did not sustain the character of the area and that the use of the former garden of the vicarage would detract from its aesthetic and historic value.
The board of finance’s application said it was for a single high-quality family home which would preserve the character of the conservation area and the benefits outweighed any “minor” change.
“It aims to be an exemplar of sensitive contemporary development in a conservation area,” it said.
The application added: “Overall, it has been demonstrated within this report that whilst the development would represent a minor positive alteration within the conservation area, this is considered to be negligible and would not result in any adverse impact upon its significance.”