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Exbury mansion replacement plans turned down on appeal amid concerns of "danger" for river users

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A COUPLE have lost their appeal to demolish an Exbury mansion amid concerns the modern replacement could be "a danger" to sailors on Beaulieu River.

Applicants Mr and Mrs Hoyle challenged the national park authority after it refused permission to knock down Gilbury, which sits on the eastern bank of the river and was built in the mid-1960s.

The NPA said the newer, taller property complete with roof terraces would create unacceptable light pollution and be out of character.

The home is on the eastern bank of Beaulieu River
The home is on the eastern bank of Beaulieu River

As reported in the A&T, Lord Montagu's sister, Mary Montagu-Scott, a member of the Beaulieu River Management team and commodore of the Beaulieu River Sailing club, had warned any light pollution could be “damaging” to people's night vision and “present a hazard to safe navigation”.

The appeal was thrown out by a planning inspector who said the replacement dwelling would assume "a striking and uncommon appearance".

The decision report said: "This would be apparent in views towards the site from the river, particularly during times when the terracing is in use during hours of darkness."

It added that the large number of external lights, such as for the roof terraces, garden paths and pool, would erode the tranquil nature of the site with light and noise.

The plans had sparked 13 letters of objection, including opposition from Beaulieu Parish Council.

One neighbour, who said they had been a mooring holder on the river for more than 50 years, wrote: "I often navigate the river at night. Every time a tree is cut down that job becomes more difficult as the light pollution is increased, making the few marks harder to find. This is a danger to boaters."

The applicants had hoped to build the new four-bedroom home with three wings around a central glazed atrium at the 1.6-acre site in Gilbury Lane.

The plans included an overhanging first floor looking south, and one side comprising a series of planted terraces.

The Hoyles also wanted to replace two outbuildings with an art studio, boathouse and new swimming pool.

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