Contentious eco-friendly house made of straw given the go-ahead in Stratford - The Stratford Observer

Contentious eco-friendly house made of straw given the go-ahead in Stratford

Stratford Editorial 10th Aug, 2022   0

PLANS for a controversial eco-friendly home made of straw on the outskirts of Stratford have been given the green-light.

The application for the four-bedroom property on Bordon Hill was approved unanimously at a meeting of Stratford District Council (SDC) on the basis of the home’s “exceptional design” and the fact it should be completely carbon neutral.

But the plans, submitted by House Style Countryside Ltd, have attracted criticism from Stratford Town Council due to the proposed setting in the open countryside.

The home will be a single storey dwelling on land to the rear of Beaconwood. It will be made from straw bales and clad in cedar shingle with a wooden roof. The building will be “dug into the landscape” and thus be obscured from view and has been specially designed to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

Rubber stamping the planning application – despite opposition from the town council and several letters from the public – planning chiefs said planning rules enabled them to approve plans for a building in the open countryside if it was of “exceptional design” and they felt this particular design met this test.

An official statement continued a condition of planning approval would be that the building of the house be carried out in accordance with the submitted carbon statement “as otherwise the design of the scheme would be diminished”.

The statement concluded: “The scheme has been well thought through and designed introducing a dwelling that is not overtly dominating and is sensitive to the site.”

This planning application follows two previous proposals for a building on the site submitted in 2018 and 2020 which were both refused on grounds of the design.

Town councillors have remained staunch in their opposition.

Their statement of objection read: “The energy efficiency of the new dwelling is laudable, but this is nothing new and is certainly not “truly outstanding”. Energy efficient new homes should be standard and it is certainly not something which in itself would justify new dwellings in the countryside.”

While Stratford mayor Gill Cleeve commented: “The design of this building is incredible and seems like an amazing eco-friendly building with a lot of thought put into it and it is a design which should be where the bar is set for all future development. Unfortunately it is the right building in the wrong place.”

A spokesperson for House Style Countryside Ltd said revolutionary techniques would actually remove carbon during construction and there was the potential for it to become a template for the future.

A spokesperson added: “Based on Iron Age buildings in the area, the building hugs the contours of the hillside overlooking Stratford yet is so secluded it will barely be seen.”

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