David takes on Goliath in Bovingdon eco-home objection

Artist's impression of the zero carbon home which is seeking planning permission for Ten Oaks Farm, Bovingdon.
Artist's impression of the zero carbon home which is seeking planning permission for Ten Oaks Farm, Bovingdon.

Objectors to a futuristic eco-friendly home within Bovingdon’s Green Belt have likened their battle to the biblical story of David and Goliath.

Dr Ian Mays – the chief executive of renewable energy firm RES in Kings Langley – has put forward a planning application for a new zero carbon development at Ten Oaks Farm in Flaunden Lane.

Artist's impression of the zero carbon home.

Artist's impression of the zero carbon home.

But it has been dubbed ‘oversized and intrusive’ by neighbours, who claim the eco credentials of the proposal are flawed because the building goes against local and national policies on protecting the Green Belt.

Patrick Kalverboer, of Flaunden Lane, said: “There are a dozen neighbours up in arms. It is a bit of a David and Goliath battle.”

He said appeals to local councillors have been ignored and added: “We feel abandoned in Bovingdon at the moment.”

The planning application, which is due to be considered by Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee tomorrow evening, has been recommended for approval by planning officer Jackie Ambrose.

In her report to the committee she explains that the application for the former dairy farm proposes to swap the existing domestic curtilage with the agricultural land, placing the enlarged new five bedroom dwelling, annex, garages, tractor shed with solar array and greenhouse on the field further back on the site and turning the existing domestic curtilage into more productive farmland for sheep grazing and an orchard.

She said: “While both national and local policies allow for replacement dwellings in the Green Belt, policy guidance on swapping land uses is not clear – they relate to development within ‘a site’ and do not differentiate between different land uses within a site.

“As this is complex in planning law it is unclear as to what extent this constitutes inappropriate development and is harmful to the openness of the Green Belt.”

But neighbour Matt Cannon fears if given the green light it could set a unwanted precedent. “The proposal as submitted would set an alarming precedent for large new houses on Green Belt farmland,” he said.

Objectors have employed environmental planning consultant Martin Leay, who said the plan would ‘significantly reduce the openness of the Green Belt.

However, Dr Mays, who has sent out 100 leaflets to nearby homes to tell them about the project, has previously told the Gazette that the home will show ‘what Dacorum can do for sustainability’, using local tradesmen and materials.