Extending Ballencrieff cottage would ruin its character, planners rule

Extending Ballencrieff cottage would ruin its character, planners rule

THE owners of a cottage built to house farmworkers nearly 100 years ago have had plans to extend it thrown out because planners say it will ruin its “small” character.

Scott and Louise Fraser wanted to extend their three-bedroom cottage at Ballencrieff Mains Farm and create additional accommodation in a detached garage/workshop in its garden.

They argued that the house was uninsulated and typical of cheap housing which had been built in the 1930s, with a large garden space to let the tenants grow their own food.

In a design statement, their agents said: “The original form, developed in the 1930s, was initiated under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act of 1926/1929 that drew attention to the poor state of the housing available to farmworkers at that time, resultant in inexpensive housing and outsized plots of land for self-sufficient food production.”

The new plans would create an enlarged living space in the cottage and two bedrooms in the garage, with an additional kitchen and bathroom.

No objections were lodged with East Lothian planners, who acknowledged that the cottage extension would not raise the height of the property but would increase floor space from 110 square metres to 180 square metres.

But planners said that the increase would “overwhelm” the original cottage, which is neither listed nor in a conservation area but is in land designated as countryside.

They said: “In this instance, the character of the existing house is derived from its distinctly small size and scale.

“The proposed changes to be made to the existing house would result in the shape and size of its footprint and its appearance being significantly altered.

“The effect of the proposed extensions and alterations to the original house would be tantamount to the creation of a new house in the countryside.

“Changing the existing building in the manner and to the degree proposed would radically alter its character and appearance, giving greater emphasis to it being isolated, sporadic development in the countryside.”

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East Lothian Courier
Marie Sharp

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