A decision has been made over a bid to replace a bungalow in a Cornish fishing village with what locals described as a “mega mansion.”

The proposal had been to demolish the existing bungalow Kenyn Peder at 5 Bounder Treath, Coverack, Cornwall and in its place build a two-storey house comprising four ensuite bedrooms, gym and open planning living area with balcony upstairs, together with a double garage.

The applicants said they wanted to move to the area as a family and believed the proposal was “sensitive” to its surroundings, with the architects describing the existing property as “outdated and in need of substantial renovation works, due to its substandard construction.”

However, neighbours and local residents described the intended replacement house as a “mega mansion” and said they were tired of “people who think Coverack is another branch of Center Parcs for their holidays", declaring: "Enough is enough." 

Locals had the support of St Keverne Parish Council members, who after viewing the application have put forward a strongly worded letter of objection to Cornwall Council as one of the official consultees, asking “Where is it all going to end for Coverack?”

The parish councillors had described the proposed replacement property as “grossly out of keeping with the others in the cul-de-sac,” adding that it would cause overlooking and loss of privacy for neighbours.

Now Cornwall Council’s planning department has refused permission for the work to take place, under delegated powers, based on two reasons.

The first is due the design, which it said would “fail to respond positively to the local character and distinctiveness in this prominent location when viewed from the highway along the south elevation.”

It goes on to add: “The proposal is considered to constitute a poor quality form of development which would fail to take the opportunity for improving the character and quality of the surrounding area and the way it functions, which is designated a Cornwall National Landscape.

“The proposal fails to demonstrate a cultural, physical and aesthetic understanding of its location through the design, massing, use of materials and glazing; the proposal would therefore not conserve or enhance the area and it is considered to conflict with the aims and intentions of policies of the Cornwall Local Plan.”

The second reason is one over overlooking, which when “coupled together with the large form of the building, it would lead to an increase in overlooking and sense of overbearing of the of neighbouring dwelling known as 4 Bounder Treath that would have a materially adverse impact on the living conditions currently enjoyed by these occupiers.”

Falmouth Packet: The south-east elevation of the existing bungalow (top) and the proposed south elevation of the two-storey house (bottom) - not to scaleThe south-east elevation of the existing bungalow (top) and the proposed south elevation of the two-storey house (bottom) - not to scale (Image: Laurence Associates/Cornwall Council)

In their report, the council officer says that while the application states the existing dwelling is "outdated and need of substantial renovation works, due to its substandard construction", no specific details had been provided as to the nature of this sub-standard construction, with no evidence of major cracking.

This led the officer to conclude: “It is in need of some renovation works but there is nothing before the council to conclude that the dwelling is unsafe or uninhabitable.”

They go on to say that while the existing bungalow was “of no particular architectural merit,” meaning in principle a replacement building would be acceptable, “the design is critical to this location which is visible from public viewpoints.”

Due to window positioning, there was some concern that the windows serving the study and WC could lead to some overlooking of the neighbour to the east of the property, with the officer concluding: “Without any form of mitigation, it is considered that this is harmful to the residential amenities of this occupier.”

Concern had been raised over a proposed pedestrian access onto the highway, but the officer said that the access point was positioned at the farthest point of the south of the site, meaning users would not emerge onto a corner but a straight section of highway.

“This allows pedestrians good visibility and will mean that users can take care when emerging onto the highway,” added the officer, who said this did not give rise to highway safety concerns.

The application had received 28 public comments on Cornwall Council’s planning portal, all of them objections.