Bovingdon’s ‘Goliath’ eco-home loses planning fight

Dr Ian Mays
Dr Ian Mays

A ‘David and Goliath’ battle to save a Bovingdon Green Belt site from being developed into a futuristic eco-home came to a head in last night’s development control committee meeting at Dacorum Borough Council.

Planners at the meeting in Hemel Hempstead’s Civic Centre rejected Kings Langley-based RES chief executive Ian Mays’ application to build the circular structure in Ten Oaks Farm off Flaunden Lane, which would also demand the demolition of existing house and former dairy farm buildings.

Artist's impression of the zero carbon home.

Artist's impression of the zero carbon home.

The house and its striking eco-friendly design was commended by many present at the meeting including its objectors, but it was felt its placement on the undeveloped section of Green Belt land was unnecessary and that the existing curtilage site would have been far more suitable.

The application proposed to swap the existing domestic curtilage with the agricultural land, placing the enlarged new five bedroom dwelling, annex, garages, tractor shed with solar array and greenhouse on the field further back on the site and turning the existing domestic curtilage into more productive farmland for sheep grazing and an orchard.

Neighbour Matt Cannon, who spoke against the proposed development, said: “Green Belt land is sacrosanct. What amazed me is that planning officers who are meant to look after Green Belt wanted to approve it, but thankfully councillors saw sense.

“It is a bit nimby, but for us it was a David and Goliath battle. I am all for eco-friendly homes and love Grand Designs-type developments, but keep it off Green Belt.”

Dr Mays said: “It is a hugely innovative house and an outstanding opportunity for Dacorum to host the first carbon-neutral home in the UK, which councillors have decided to reject.

“Mr Cannon’s concerns about seeing the house would have been alleviated by reinstating a screen of vegetation and trees which existed between the two properties when Mr Cannon moved in.

“I am hugely disappointed by the results and I have got to now think about what I will do.”

Planners also delegated the decision on whether to allow Tesco to build a store and eight flats on another Bovingdon site.

Though the application for the current service station site on Chesham Road has been approved in principle, its official adoption is subject to technical changes, based on the desire to see the development brought forward swiftly.

Members also expressed concerns regarding the current condition of the site, which was described as an eyesore. aho