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Couple challenge New Forest National Park Authority refusal of bid to transform Beaulieu River mansion

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A COUPLE have challenged the refusal of plans for an avant-garde mansion beside Beaulieu River which sparked claims its lighting could dazzle sailors late at night.

Mr and Mrs C. Hoyle have appealed, claiming amendments made to their bid to tear down an Exbury home for the modern replacement mean it should be allowed.

They want to replace Gilbury, a two-storey home at Gilbury Lane on the eastern banks of the Beaulieu River, with a new, two-storey home with three wings around a central glazed atrium and outbuildings.

Gilbury Lane in Exbury
Gilbury Lane in Exbury

The plans were first submitted in mid-2021 but provoked objections including from Mary Montagu-Scott, the sister of Lord Montagu; Exbury and Lepe Parish Council; and Beaulieu Residents’ Association.

Mrs Montagu-Scott, commodore of the Beaulieu River Sailing club, expressed concern for sailors’ safety from the proposed design, which featured large windows and a glazed dome. She argued any light pollution could be "damaging" to their night vision.

The bid was later thrown out by the national park authority over concerns about its scale, "unacceptable levels" of light pollution, potential "adverse impact on users of the Beaulieu River", and a "harmful loss of privacy" to the garden of Gilbury Coach House, the property to the east.

But the newly submitted appeal said alterations made to the design should overcome the NPA's objections.

Mary Montagu-Scott
Mary Montagu-Scott

It said: "For the reasons set out within this statement, the appellants contend the proposed development would be appropriate for the site, would have no greater impact upon the surrounding landscape than the existing dwelling and would not detrimentally impact any neighbouring properties."

A terrace for the first floor guest room has been removed in order to prevent loss of privacy for Gilbury Coach House, Mr Kelly pointed out, while the couple also sought conditions to limit the light emitted by the property.

The proposal has a lesser amount of glazing facing the river, and with mitigation measures would mean "a lesser lighting impact than the existing property", the appeal contends.

The appellants argued the proposed new dwelling was only "marginally taller than the existing house" and the visual changes would be "almost unnoticeable". The outbuildings "complement" the dwelling, they added, and are far away or not visible from neighbouring homes.

A planning inspector will have the final say via written statements which must be sent to the Planning Inspectorate by 23rd February.

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