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Gorst's Ropers Farm scheme loses planning inquiry despite backing

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James Gorst Architects' proposal for a £2 million PPG 7 house in the Essex countryside has lost its planning inquiry.

The Ropers Farm scheme near Chelmsford was refused planning permission last year despite winning the recommendation of local planners.

A planning inspector last week upheld the council planning committee's decision that the house would impose upon the surrounding Green Belt.

The decision flies in the face of CABE's advice, which in a letter to planners last year said 'it was very happy to support the proposal', highlighting for praise the 'properly considered strategy towards ecology'.

Gorst attacked the inspector's decision. 'It is the client that I feel most sorry for, ' he told the AJ. 'We followed the PPG 7 guidelines to the letter and believed we stood a very good chance of winning.

'We knew that the odds were against us but we were emboldened by the support that was shown to us by both CABE and the planners, ' he added. 'But it did not feel like an impartial inquiry. It was almost like the inspector had been told not to approve.'

Gorst has also won the support of architectural historian Neil Guy, an expert witness at the inquiry. 'This was one of the most significant inquiries because of the planners' recommendation.

'It was as if it were a foregone conclusion. And if this is the case then it is a complete travesty of justice, 'Guy added.

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