PLANNING chiefs were ‘unreasonable’ in turning down plans for a house in a Monmouthshire village, according to a Welsh Government inspector.

Councillors acted against their own officer’s advice when they blocked the development in the back garden of a property in Caestory Avenue, Raglan, last September.

The height, scale and appearance of the proposed detached four-bedroom house was ‘out of keeping’ with the character of the area, according to the committee.

But the plans have been allowed on appeal after planning inspector Hywel Wyn Jones sided with the applicant, who will also pursue costs against Monmouthshire County Council.

With an overall height of 8.3 metres, Mr Wyn Jones said the building would be ‘no taller than would be expected’ of modern two-storey houses.

The report adds: “The houses closest to the site are two-storey semi-detached dwellings with render painted walls which, save for minor alterations, have retained their original uniformity of appearance.

“However other dwellings along the street vary in terms of size, layout and materials.”

Mr Wyn Jones noted that the house would be ‘significantly’ set back from Caestory Avenue and would be visible only through gaps between the street’s houses.

Concerns over the proposed access being on a sharp bend on a narrow residential road were also dismissed by the inspector.

“I have found the scheme acceptable in relation to all the matters raised in objection,” said Mr Wyn Jones.

“I am also mindful that the scheme would contribute to the local supply of housing in a location which has good access to day-to-day services.”

Local authorities are not bound to adopt technical advice given by officers, but they are expected to show that they had reasonable planning grounds to act contrary to such advice.

According to Mr Wyn Jones, the committee failed to provide additional information to show how the house differs to nearby buildings, or how it would be harmful to the area.

“I find that the council has failed to substantiate its reason for refusing the application,” he said.

“Its actions were unreasonable. It has caused the applicant to incur the unnecessary expense of pursuing an appeal. I conclude that a full award is justified.”

The planning committee will be presented with the inspector’s findings on March 5.