Autumn 2009

Over the summer months there has not been intensive casework activity, but one recent planning proposal has rebounded and will be a matter of urgency over the autumn into winter. This is the proposed Wind Farm at Brightenber Hill, near Skipton, Yorkshire, which would adversely affect the outlook from Gledstone Hall (1923-27), one of Lutyens’s last and most noble country houses. I reported the application last year. It was, incredibly, recommended for Approval by consultants retained by Craven District Council. The Trust objected strongly and the application was Refused by elected members. This decision has now been Appealed, and a Public Enquiry is likely to be scheduled for early next year.

A local amenity society, The Friends of Craven Landscape, formed when the original application was made, has been very active in opposing the application and are to be legally represented at the hearing. I visited Gledstone Hall in mid-August, and my opposition was strengthened on assessing the impact that the five 100m. high wind turbines would make, not only on the setting of Gledstone Hall, but on an outstanding and unspoilt landscape, just south of the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Following discussion with Martin Lutyens, I have registered with the Planning Inspectorate to take a high profile role at the hearing. The circumstances are such that I believe the Trust must be seen ‘to protect the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens’ with determination.

I feel some disquiet about two other applications, about which I registered objections on behalf of the Trust. As many will know, Nashdom, Burnham was converted to apartments about twenty years ago, and there are two small cottages in its intriguing angled Gatehouse. A prospective purchaser proposed an awkward extension on one of them, which the Nashdom Management Company rightly blocked. However, South Bucks District Council recently approved planning permission and listed building consent. The purchaser has withdrawn, but there remains valid consents, and the possibility of pressure on the Management Company may recur.

At Knebworth Golf Club, a visually intrusive glazed lounge, overlooking the course, was added between the projecting wings of the original building about 1970, before the building was listed. The recent proposals involved tripling this in width, and despite the Trust’s objection, North Herts DC granted planning permission and listed building consent. The only (small) consolation is that the extension, which is totally glazed, will not be attached to the original brickwork of the front, but this will be largely obscured.

Dr. Mervyn Miller