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Earth shelter architect lodges appeal
The architect behind plans for an underground eco-friendly home in a west Wiltshire village has lodged an appeal after the scheme was thrown out by councillors.
The environmentally friendly four-bedroom earth shelter planned in High Street, Chapmanslade, near Warminster, was refused planning permission by West Wiltshire District Council’s planning committee on August 21, as it was deemed to be 'outside of village policy limits'.
Planning officers ruled there was not adequate justification the project would be sustainable and there were also concerns from the Environment Agency about sewerage disposal.
Alvin Howard, agent for the project on behalf of applicant Clive Michael, from Chapmanslade, said: “There is a Government clause (Planning Policy Statement Seven) which states that if you design a house of outstanding technological design then it should be given planning permission, but that wasn't the case.
“The most important thing about this house is that it would be an incredibly valuable research tool. It would be sustainable from both its creation, with the zero carbon methods of construction, to the zero carbon emitted once it is built.
“I have had a specialist look at the actual design content of the building and it is totally zero carbon. It is outstanding.”
The house, which is designed to last more than 1,000 years, would be built using low emission concrete and recycled stone and rubble.
The two main benefits of an earth shelter are that it takes on the temperature of the soil around it, and isn't attacked by above ground emissions that deteriorate buildings.
Mr Howard, a member of the British Earth Sheltering Association, said: "I have built one like it in Warmley (south Gloucestershire) and that was very successful, and is increasingly so, but WWDC decided that they would not follow Government guidelines; they follow their own rules.”
The plans will go before the planning inspectorate at an informal hearing, although a date has not yet been set.
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