Having worked in the South East for a number of years and for a number of developers, one of the prize catches in that world was the 'country house.'
Once obtained, planning was submitted for as many flats as possible adjoining the house. I have known 14 flats adjoined to a house which itself was only large enough to split into two (large) flats.
Building houses in the countryside will be a Trojan Horse for urban spread. The profit to be made from developing future country houses will be irresistible once the novelty of ownership wears off, or the family fortunes need a boost. The proof of this pressure is the decline in the number and viability of country houses in the UK.
Architects have building in the bones; an insatiable appetite for it. I've never met one who didn't want to build more, and very few who ultimately cared (enough) about where they built. Ask them to give up the Holy Grail and you will see the egos in the ascendant.
The red herring of the antisnob motive is a distractive spin worthy of Alistair Campbell.
People need to ask themselves if they are in agreement with the objectives of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. To say that they are but this is a worthy exception is just nonsense.
Barry O'Sullivan, by email