Panel defies planners over boat house plan

Pathfinder House, home of Huntingdonshire District Council.

Pathfinder House, home of Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

A new boathouse at Wyton which planners said would “decimate” the rural character of the undeveloped rural area has been given the go-ahead.

The two-storey boathouse in modern building materials is set to replace a single-storey wooden boathouse on land off Green Lane.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council said the proposed boathouse would have an adverse impact on the Houghton and Wyton conservation area, in which it stands, and the nearby conservation zone for the Hemingfords.

They said the building could be seen from footways leading to the historic Houghton Mill visitor attraction and by boaters on the Great Ouse.

But the boathouse was approved by the authority's development management panel on May 20, despite the planners' recommendation for refusal.

Houghton and Wyton Parish Council had also earlier recommended the plan for approval.

Planners said they had no objection to the principle of replacing the boathouse with a single-storey building of similar size and character but that the present design would cause "significant and demonstrable harm" to the area.

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"Due to the mass, bulk, scale, location and poor modern design of the proposed boathouse, the proposal would have a significant adverse impact upon the openness an rural character of the countryside and would fail to preserve or enhance the conservation area," a report to the committee said.

"The proposed modern design and proposed use of modern materials would decimate the rural character and appearance of this open and undeveloped part of the conservation area."

They said: "Although a boathouse, the proposal has a similar appearance to a contemporary-style dwelling and this domestic-designed development would be completely at odds with the surroundings."

Planners added that the boathouse was adjacent to a county wildlife site but no ecological information had been provided with the application about the potential impact on protected habitat on species, meaning there was nothing to show whether the boathouse would cause harm to ecology and biodiversity.