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PPG 7 revelations spark moratorium demand

The government is facing calls for a moratorium on PPG 7 planning inquiries following publication in the AJ of secret instructions to inspectors ruling on new country houses.

Cornwall-based architect John Gosschalk, whose PPG 7 house was refused at appeal last December, is leading the charge.

Gosschalk has issued a rallying cry to other architects and clients who have had their applications refused to join forces and put pressure on the deputy prime minister.

The outcry follows the revelation in the AJ of a confidential note to inspectors ordering them to include a consideration of the government's plans to drop the country house clause when ruling on appeals (AJ 4.3.04).

Gosschalk, who has written to the head of the plannning inspectorate demanding a moratorium, insisted: 'They should declare all previous appeal results null and void. I don't think people realise how appalling this is. It strikes at the heart of the appeals system.

This is supposed to be totally unbiased. It's disgraceful and something needs to be done.'

His house, Falling Leaves in Torridge, Devon, was endorsed by CABE: 'We think that this is an attractive scheme, ' the commission advised the inspector, 'with the potential to result in a building of real interest.'

However, in his conclusion the inspector ruled that 'despite its undoubted quality' it was not of 'such outstanding quality' to qualify for exception.

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