Withybrook landowner faces enforcement action after creating road over scheduled monument

The area has protections equivalent to those afforded to a Grade 1 Listed building

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Enforcement action is to be taken against the owners of a field who have created an access track over historic land without planning permission.

They had hoped that retrospective permission for the driveway in Withybrook and for a proposed stable block would be granted.

But councillors at Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee were unanimous in throwing out the scheme when they met last week, June 23.

Planning officer Jo Walton told the meeting: “The proposal would result in a loss of openness in the green belt and is therefore inappropriate development. It is the opinion of the local planning authority that very special circumstances do not exist to outweigh the identified harm.”

She also flagged up concerns that part of an important hedgerow had been ripped out to create an access to the site off Overstone Road and councillors were also informed of concerns raised by the parish council and Historic England.

The report presented to councillors explained: “The application site lies within the extent of the scheduled monument known as the ‘medieval settlement at Withybrook’.

“Historic England have objected to the application on heritage grounds, outlining that the access driveway/trackway has had a serious impact upon the scheduled monument, both physically and upon the monument’s character.

"The ground reductions have not only impacted below ground deposits but have also cut through upstanding earthwork remains of the hollow-way and the house platform.

“Scheduled ancient monuments are designated heritage assets of the highest significance, equivalent to a Grade 1 Listed building, and protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The harm identified therefore carries substantial weight against the proposal and the grant of planning permission.”

Cllr Tony Gillias (Con, Revel and Binley Woods) said: “Withybrook is one of our special villages in the borough of Rugby and I think the green belt washes through the whole of the village. Residents are very proud of their historical artefacts and would like to keep them.”

Ms Walton added that an enforcement notice had been served on the application site and this would involve the owners putting the land back to how it was and removing the access track.