Cheap farmworkers cottage appeal

Monday May 8th 2023


The owners of cottage at Ballencrieff Mains Farm were refused permission to extend it.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The owners of an old farmworkers cottage who were refused permission to extend it have appealed after claiming the building is ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

Scott and Louise Fraser wanted to extend their three-bedroom cottage at Ballencrieff Mains Farm, near Aberlady, in East Lothian, and create additional accommodation in a detached garage/workshop in its garden.

But East Lothian Council’s planners ruled the proposed extension would ‘overwhelm’ the original cottage, and refused planning permission.

Now the couple are taking their case to the council’s Local Review Body pointing out planners approved a ‘near identical’ plan for another property less than two miles from their rural cottage and saying the new home would only use up five per cent of the site.

In their statement to the review body their agent says: “Development here benefits the property, the appellant, the appellant’s extended family and harms no one.

“The council should seek to support proposals where the outcome results in the creation of a far superior and attractive property with no unacceptable impacts.”

It was originally argued that the house was uninsulated and typical of cheap housing which had been built in the 1930s for farmworkers, with a large garden space to let the tenants grow their own food.

The new plans include an enlarged living space in the cottage and two bedrooms in the garage with an additional kitchen and bathroom.

No objections were lodged with East Lothian planners at the time of the original application for the cottage which is neither listed nor in a conservation area but is in land designated as countryside.

However planners rejected the proposals saying: “Changing the existing building in the manner and to the degree proposed would radically alter its character and appearance giving greater emphasis to it being isolated, sporadic development in the countryside.”

The appeal will be heard by the review body next week.

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