November 16, 2022 6.55 am This story is over 17 months old

“Blot on the landscape”: Council rejects experimentally sustainable house

“It would be a great advert for the Fenlands”

An experimental home which would have produced more energy than it used has been refused planning permission.

Innovative designs like this should be encouraged in South Holland, the planning committee said.

However, the design came under fire for its location in open countryside during the meeting last week.

The carbon-negative house would have been built near Draw Dyke in Sutton St James as a ‘real life research and development project’, gathering data on electrical use.

It would produce its own energy, with excess electricity sold back to the National Grid.

Applicant Michael Peace, who works at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, told the committee: “It would not just be carbon neutral but carbon negative.

“Over the course of a year, it generates more electricity than it consumes, so it reduces CO2 being produced elsewhere.

“Technology is developing at a fast pace, so its vital research keeps up. The knowledge will be collected and shared for educational purposes.”

During the debate, Councillor Christopher Brewis said: “We need higher standard housing, and experiments with new properties will alter the way we build in the future.

“For me, the novel and innovative ideas outweigh the objections. We should welcome these types of project in the district.”

The applicants wanted to become ‘guinea pigs’ and gather data in the home | Photo: Studio 11 Architecture

Councillor Andrew Tennant also backed the plans, saying: “It is fantastic. Other ‘innovative’ homes look like massive mansions with eco-credentials – this one is actually unique.

“I can’t see how this property would have negative impact on Sutton St James. It’s a great advert for the Fenlands.”

Councillor Bryan Alcock asked: “Shouldn’t the authority get ahead of the game, welcoming properties that don’t cost anything to run and contribute to the power of the country?”

The plans include solar panels, an electric vehicle charging point, a storage battery and zero carbon materials.

However, others argued that the location in open countryside was inappropriate, with Councillor Michael Seymour arguing it would be “a blot on the landscape”.

Councillor Allan Beal agreed it was innovative, but worried that approval would “give developers carte blanche to buy a plot and build something regardless of location.”

Others said they would have been happy to approve it if the council’s policies permitted.

Councillor Simon Walsh said: “We need to support this type of innovation but would be nice to be in normal locations.”

There were comparisons to a house which is claimed to be one of the most eco-friendly in Lincolnshire which was approved by the same council in July.

However, the majority eventually voted against the experimental home, with a margin of 11 to 3.

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