Shaftesbury New Build – Strategic Appeal

The client approached us having purchased a plot on which a pair of garages were sited, 4 planning applications had already been submitted to demolish the garages and build a new house, but all had been refused.

Shaftesbury New Build – Strategic Appeal

Photo Credit: Richmond Bell Architects

The Brief

We were instructed to appeal the refused decision and find a way for the client to submit a new build Planning Application which Dorset Council would approve.

Our Approach

The key to our client’s repeated refusal was the sensitivity of the site. Situated in a conservation area, surrounded by listed buildings, the garages were close to a row of terraced housing but adjacent to open green space which local residents enjoy, so there was local objection and resistance to the project.

Prior to our instruction, 4 planning applications to demolish the garages and erect a new house were refused by Dorset Council Planning, going through various iterations of build, from a 2-storey traditional house, 2-storey contemporary, then smaller traditional to a modest contemporary single-storey house with a curved roof.

A Strategic Approach

The team agreed that for a successful outcome we needed a robust, but strategic approach. To understand from the Inspectorate what they would be comfortable with in terms of design and use those arguments to inform the architect to draw up appropriate options. To use the appeal process to minimise risk.

We set about gathering evidence. Visiting the site, reviewing all the constraints, and taking photographs from every aspect, to build our case document to present to the Inspectorate.

The team created a statement of case to counter argue Dorset Council Planning latest reasons for refusal, taking into account the impact the new build would have on the character of the area, the appearance of the surrounding conservation area and the building’s impact on the overall tranquillity and enjoyment of the neighbouring park.

The Inspectorate agreed that an additional house in its location would have no more detrimental impact than the housing already there. However, the Inspectorate believed that a contemporary build was not the right fit and that a more traditional approach would be more in keeping with the area.

This gave us, the client, and their architect an opportunity to overcome the Council’s objections.

Collaboration is Key

Together with the architect and a set of different build drawings, we met (remotely) with the Dorset Council planning officer and their Head of Conservation to discuss what they would rather see on the site, seek advice, and gain support from the Conservation Officer. The discussion flushed out what would be acceptable, where alterations were required, and which drawing would be supported. A discussion which was crucial to informing the next set of architect’s drawings.


The previously proposed contemporary roof was replaced with a more traditional one. Our resulting planning application had the full support of the Planning Officer and Conservation Officer and was submitted and approved at the 5th attempt.

Shaftesbury New Build – Strategic Appeal

Photo Credit: Richmond Bell Architects

Client feedback:

 “Thank you all sooo much! It would not have happened without you. Rebecca put up with my many calls, showing only sympathy. Very much appreciated.”


Project: Demolish & New Build
Building: Single-storey residential building
Location: Shaftesbury, Dorset
Status: Planning Permission Granted (after 4 failed applications)
Architect: Richmond Bell Architects


Rebecca Davis
Principal Planner & Planning Manager

t: +44 (0)1722 638 008
Email Rebecca


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