On the eastern shores of Ullswater lies one the Lake District’s best kept secrets: The Beckside Cabins. In a beautifully secluded location at the waters edge, accessible only by foot (or ATV) yet luxuriously comfy, the cabins provide unique accommodation.
Constructed in the 1930’s, the cabins are the sole survivors of a once much larger group of cabins providing holiday accommodation on Beckside Farm.
Background to the case
Recently threatened with demolition by the planning authority who judged that recent renovation works had overstepped the line between ‘refurbishment’, which would not have required planning permission, and ‘rebuilding’, for which planning permission should have been obtained (but was not), the case was heard at a full Public Inquiry.
The landscape case against the cabins centred around 3 aspects:
- Whether the works had resulted in a ‘material change to the external appearance of the cabins’;
- Whether the change to the cabins had resulted in significant harm to the character of the landscape;
- Whether there had been any adverse effect upon the sense of tranquillity to the area.
In their original state
The renovated cabins
Stephenson Halliday were pleased to represent the farm and cabin owners Mr & Mrs Hewitt, and Principal Landscape Architect Tom Charrier acted as expert witness presenting landscape evidence in support of the cabins.
Despite assertions of significant harm to the landscape, the Lake District National Park Authority did not put forward any landscape evidence or any landscape expert witness at the Inquiry to support their view. Then, following review of Tom’s landscape evidence the LDNPA conceded in their open statement to the Inquiry that in fact there had not been any harm to the character of the landscape when accepting the original huts as the baseline.
Tom faced lengthy cross examination on whether the change to the external appearance of the huts should be judged to be ‘material’ (as any works resulting in a material change to their external appearance would require planning permission), and also whether the renovated cabins have harmed the tranquillity of the area.
The case is as yet undecided, but we will be watching closely and provide an update when the decision is released.