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Exbury mansion replacement bid sunk by New Forest National Park Authority amid concerns of impact on Beaulieu River sailors

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A BID to tear down an Exbury mansion for an avant-garde replacement has been sunk amid concerns light pollution could disorientate sailors navigating Beaulieu River.

Objectors including Mary Montagu-Scott – sister of Lord Montagu – had expressed concerns that yachtsmen’s safety could be hampered by the design of the proposed home, which featured large windows and a glazed dome.

Mrs Montagu-Scott, a member of the Beaulieu River Management team and commodore of the Beaulieu River Sailing club, said darkness was “absolutely critical” for sailors on Beaulieu River at night and any light pollution could be “damaging” to sailors’ night vision and “present a hazard to safe navigation”.

Mary Montagu-Scott is opposed to the proposed mansion scheme
Mary Montagu-Scott is opposed to the proposed mansion scheme

Others lodging objections to the national park authority, which ultimately refused the application, included Lord Strathcarron, Exbury and Lepe Parish Council and Beaulieu Residents’ Association.

Lord Strathcarron (50742105)
Lord Strathcarron (50742105)

Lord Montagu also wrote to the NPA and, although not directly opposing the scheme, noted: “The darkness of the Beaulieu River is one of its qualities; this is important for wildlife and safe navigation.

“If this is to be maintained, any external lighting, including light on the terraces and light coming from windows, should be designed to keep light spillage to an absolute minimum.”

Applicants Mr and Mrs Hoyle had sought permission from the NPA to demolish Gilbury, a two-storey home on 1.6 acres at Gilbury Lane that sits on the eastern bank of the Beaulieu River.

The applicants want to build the mansion along the eastern bank of the Beaulieu River
The applicants want to build the mansion along the eastern bank of the Beaulieu River

They wanted to replace it with a new, modern-looking two-storey home with three wings around a central glazed atrium.

Its design included two areas of roof terrace, an overhanging first floor looking south and an entrance elevation comprising a series of planted terraces.

They also wanted to get rid of two outbuildings and replace them with a hobby art studio, detached boathouse and replacement swimming pool.

The couple declined the A&T’s request to publish pictures of the design.

The pair suggested the building would be primarily constructed from reclaimed Suffolk White and Pink bricks “arranged in a variety of patterns and motifs” across the facades, with bronze and stone accents to break up the massing.

The application said the owners felt the existing house, built in the mid-1960s, “no longer has the thermal performance, nor the spatial needs” to accommodate them.

But rejecting the bid, the NPA said the “scale, design, level of fenestration and form” of the proposed building and outbuildings would “add unacceptably” to the impact of built development across the site and result in “unacceptable levels” of light pollution.

That would be “incongruous with the rural character of the area” and have an “adverse impact on users of the Beaulieu River”, it added.

The plan would have a “harmful urbanising impact” on the site and views from the wider area, the NPA went on, while the design of the proposed dwelling would lead to a “harmful loss of privacy towards the private garden area of the property to the east”.

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