A plan for a new self-built house in a scenic Herefordshire spot has been refused.

Local resident Eleanor Hickton had applied to build the house in The Doward near Whitchurch, within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The site was to be a gift from her parents to enable her to continue living and working in the area, a letter accompanying her application explained.

It called the policy in the neighbourhood plan, requiring new housing in the area to be within the Whitchurch settlement boundary, “unnecessarily restrictive”.


The proposed stone-built two-bedroom cottage was to be “of traditional appearance”, would have been energy-efficient with an air-source heating system, while biodiversity measures would have been included.

The letter also proposed re-tarmacking the access lane, “for a distance of about 200 metres, for the benefit of the application site and for the neighbouring properties”.


This found favour with neighbouring tenants Simon Dawson and Julia Hubbard, who said this “would greatly improve the access up and down a quickly deteriorating access track”, along which emergency access is currently “out of the question”.

Fellow neighbour John Willams said previous building work by the Hicktons “has always been completed with a great deal of respect to local residents, to a very high standard”.

But another resident, Max Jackson, feared the new house would “drastically increase the chance of flooding and damage to the properties below”.

Whitchurch and Ganarew parish council also objected that the spot was “outside of defined settlement boundaries in a non-sustainable location”.

Planning officer Gemma Webster agreed, concluding that new housing in open countryside “some considerable distance” from both Whitchurch and Symonds Yat, is “resisted”.

She also found insufficient information with the application on foul and surface water drainage, meaning “there is no legal nor scientific certainty that the proposal would not have an adverse impact upon the River Wye SAC [special area of conservation]”.