Ifield house designs compared to ‘Second World War control tower’

Proposed design of new Ifield home
Proposed design of new Ifield home

Designs for a house in the West Sussex countryside have been compared to a Second World War control tower and refused by Horsham District Council.

The application for scrub land at The Mount, in Ifield, received no support from members of the planning committee, with one councillor saying he was ‘flabbergasted’ that it had been put forward for approval.

Being some two miles from Rusper, seven miles from Crawley, and three miles from the nearest shops, officers acknowledged the location was unsustainable.

They also agreed the application was a departure from the development plan and was in an area where they would usually oppose development.

But planning rules allow for exceptions if a building is truly outstanding, innovative and of the highest design standards and they felt the two-storey, four-bedroom home, with its underfloor heating and cooling system and windcatcher tower, met those criteria.

Councillors disagreed and had some less sympathetic words for the design, such as ‘ugly’, ‘eyesore’ and ‘a blot on the landscape’.

Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) said: “I have seen better control towers even if World War II frankly, and that’s just what it looks like. It’s not exceptional. It’s somebody’s rather skewed idea.

“It’s the wrong building in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) added: “It’s the sort of building that we are seeking to demolish. It looks quite dark and dystopian.”

Mr Mitchell also raised concerns that more and more applications for homes in the countryside were being submitted by people who thought they were outstanding enough to be allowed.

There were heartfelt pleas from Ralph and Maria Taylor, who run the Bulldog Holidays kennels immediately next to the site, about the stress building work would place on the animals.

Mr Taylor told the committee it was ‘totally unacceptable, thoughtless and cruel to inflict this on the dogs’, and pointed out that there would have been an outcry if the tables were turned and he tried to build kennels right next door to someone’s home.

Officers acknowledged that the environmental health team had raised concerns about the impact of the kennels on any future occupants of the house.

When Tony Hogben (Con, Colgate & Rusper) asked for the application to be refused, plenty of hands were raised to second his call.

It was turned down on the grounds that it was visually intrusive, was not of a suitably innovative design to be allowed in the countryside and future residents would be impacted by noise and disturbance from the kennels.