Sidbury barn-inspired house plan fails to win over council

Plans for a new house in the walled garden of Sidbury House

Plans for a new house in the walled garden of Sidbury House - Credit: Archant

An application to build a ‘contemporary’ two-storey house in Sidbury failed to win the backing of civic leaders, who felt its barn-like design was ‘not in keeping’ with the village.

Sidmouth Town Council’s planning committee voted not to support the plans for the four-bedroom property at the site of Sidbury House, in Church Street, at its meeting last Wednesday.

The applicant, John Fowler, told councillors that he and his wife wanted to downsize from their current five-bedroom property in Colyton and that the site was right for them.

The plans state that the proposed dwelling would look like a barn, due to a similar structure that was built on the opposite side of the road. The applicant said it was ‘pertinent’ that the proposed building adopted a similar footprint.

Mr Fowler said: “We want it near a village with a bus route, which is something that we don’t have at the moment, with a good community atmosphere and plenty of village activities.

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“We have lots of friends already in Sidbury, we attend events at the church and the village hall. Sidbury seems to be to us the ideal place to go and when this site came up we went for it.”

The house would be made from traditional materials and energy and thermally efficient.

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Mr Fowler said that the design would have a curved roof to not intrude on the views of other properties the village.

He added: “There was a barn across the road and in that case all we are doing is rebuilding it on our side of the road. We’re not really adding anything particularly new in the way of architecture but the barn idea is not fundamental to our plans.

“If you think of architecture as a form of art, new art always divides opinion. But we are happy to try and accommodate the greatest amount of views.”

He added that the couple would restore the walled garden, which is overgrown and has fallen into disrepair.

Councillors praised the design, but could not support the application as it was not in keeping with the rest of the village.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards said: “I appreciate that it is mimicking in its external appearance a shape of a barn, but in my mind a barn is a barn and a house is a house and I don’t think they meet together very well.

“I can support the idea of a dwelling, but I do not like the design.”

Cllr Jeff Turner said that houses in the village are ‘distinctly traditional’.

He added: “I’m not against modern architecture, but I think it has got to be in the right place.”

The fate of the application will be decided by East Devon District Council.

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