Proposed home with swimming pool could spoil view of village church claims councillor

An artist's impression of how the house would look if given planning approval
An artist's impression of how the house would look if given planning approval

A new home and swimming pool development is facing opposition from a councillor because it could spoil the view of a Northamptonshire village church.

Planning officers at South Northamptonshire Council have recommended that councillors approve the scheme in Stoke Bruerne that would see Woodcote House, in Church Lane, demolished and replaced with the two-storey home and separate pool and gym building.

How Woodcote House currently looks in Stoke Bruerne

How Woodcote House currently looks in Stoke Bruerne

But the scheme faces opposition from local councillor Sandra Barnes, as well as the council’s own heritage officer.

Cllr Barnes says the scheme is an ‘overdevelopment of the site’, formerly known as Happylands, and is ‘out of keeping with the character of the area’. She believes this will impact on the setting and significance of the Grade II listed St. Mary’s Church, which dates back to the 14th century.

And the authority’s heritage officer adds: “The scale, mass and design of the proposed developments would result in it being more prominent and clearly visible against the backdrop of the church, thus harming its immediate setting as well as its landscape setting.”

But other statutory organisations, including Stoke Bruerne Parish Council and Historic England, have raised no objections over the application.

Some people feel the application is out of keeping with the nearby setting of the St. Mary's Church

Some people feel the application is out of keeping with the nearby setting of the St. Mary's Church

And a heritage assessment by Cotswold Archaeology outlines that the ‘proposed development will enhance the character and appearance of these views’, adding: “It will be visible in the long distance views towards the church from the Tove Valley, but will not detract from the appreciation of the church tower. Indeed, the design and materials of the proposals will ensure that the structure will more strongly reflect the historic character of Stoke Bruerne - both the village and wider parish - to a greater degree than the current building.”

Members of the council’s planning committee will meet at The Forum in Towcester at 2.15pm on Thursday (January 3) to make a decision on the application.