Shropshire Star

'Imaginative’ property at ‘long abandoned’ Ironbridge site is approved

An 'imaginative' property with the appearance of cubes can be built on an Ironbridge Gorge site after the council gave the green light.

The current house off Lincoln Hill in Ironbridge which will be replaced. Picture: Telford & Wrekin Council planning portal

The secluded 13-acre site, which sits off Lincoln Hill, was a former limestone workings and played an important role for Ironbridge in the industrial revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Telford & Wrekin Council state that the site has been ‘long abandoned’ and is ‘largely overgrown’ with trees surrounding an existing two-storey dwelling which was constructed in 1974.

Applicants Rolf Behrsing and Dominika Bienkowska have had plans approved to demolish the existing house and replace it with a five-bedroomed home which has the appearance ‘of a series of cubes/blocks’ – on an almost identical footprint.

In their design and planning statement Alan Murphy, of Shropshire Planning and Urban Design said: “The proposed building has been designed by a well-known award-winning firm of local architects, who have made a speciality of contemporary designs using contemporary and/traditional materials for new buildings in historic settings in the local area.

“The building has the appearance of a series of cubes/blocks. Each cube, or block, is set on top of the one below or next to it, to create visual variety by forward projections and recesses, which also create shadows.

“This approach has also allowed for maximum use of internal spaces and maximum light and more rooms to be provided with outlooks, in particular the view and aspect over the large garden.

“The approach is imaginative and will result in a building retaining the existing setting of the existing building and creating an attractive contemporary replacement with an appropriate choice of external materials.”

An existing chalet on the site is to remain in place and subject to a certificate of lawfulness application.

The site is located within the Severn Gorge Conservation area and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

The George Parish Council and the council’s built heritage officer raised no objection.

The built heritage officer concluded that there would be ‘no impact’ on the character and appearance of the Severn Gorge Conservation Area (SGCA) or Outstanding Universal Value of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site (WHS),

“Built Heritage goes on to offer that this is one of the rare opportunities within the WHS where a totally modern approach to design and materials can be accommodated due to the lack of intervisibility within the WHS/SGCA and other surrounding heritage assets,” the council’s planning officer concluded.

The council’s highways, drainage and ecology departments, along with Natural England, all support the proposal subject to conditions.

A member of the public alerted the planning authority to bat species present at the property. The council’s planning officer said that this had been addressed by their ecology officer.

An objection raised concern regarding noise and pollution and danger to walkers, cyclists and horse riders with an increase of large vehicles during the construction period.

The council’s planning officer said that the objection was not considered to be a material planning consideration.

Approving the proposals a council planning officer concluded: “The local planning authority considers that the scale and design of the proposed works are acceptable, respecting and responding positively to the context of the application site and surrounding area.

“Given the site-specific location, the introduction of a contemporary replacement dwelling is not considered to adversely affect the surrounding area.

“This is by virtue of the innovative design in a secluded location that would not detract from special qualities of the Severn Gorge Conservation area or the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site subject to conditions considered to be reasonable and necessary to ensure a high-quality scheme is brought forward.”