Planners turn down Torcross building
Plans for a ‘James Bond’ style house overlooking a secluded South Devon cove have been thrown out.
The striking glass-fronted three-storey building at Torcross has been described as ‘exciting, bespoke and contemporary’ by its builders, but locals are less enthusiastic.
Stokenham parish council chairman Piers Spence told South Hams Council’s planning committee: “This is an enormous glass and steel box, and it could be under water within as little as 20 years.”
The Berkshire-based applicants have lodged 10 different plans and alterations for the site of the former Cove Guest House over the past decade. Permission for a dwelling was first granted in 2009, at which point the guest house – which looked out from the base of the cliffs across a wide expanse of Start Bay – was demolished.
In 2021 permission was for a new design, featuring large glass windows with aluminium panels, and since then the council has refused two applications to change that design.
The third and latest application for changes – dubbed ‘slightly less adventurous’ by a planning officer – did away with the panels and showed a design dominated by glass.
Objectors called the design a ’crass glass box’ and called for the council to take a stand against it. Local resident Ollie Pawley described it as a ‘James Bond house’.
Cllr Georgina Allen (Green,Totnes) said there had been extensive erosion of the coastline around the site since permission was first granted.
“It flies in the face of reason to build a glass house which is undermined from below and in danger of being hit from above,” she said.
And Cllr Lee Bonham (Lib Dem, Loddiswell and Aveton Gifford) added: “The applicant can go ahead and build this, but if it is later washed away that’s his responsibility.”
Cllr Jacqi Hodgson (Green, Dartington and Staverton) said the design was ‘incongruous’ and ‘discordant’, and went against a number of environmental policies, while council chairman Guy Pannell (Lib Dem, South Brent) said it had so much glass that it would be visible right across Start Bay.
Cllr Spence went on: “The applicant doesn’t want to build the project agreed in 2021 because it is going to cost him a huge amount of money, having got down to the site and realised just what is involved.
“Build what you’ve got permission for, or don’t build at all. Nobody in Torcross believes this will ever happen.”
Members of the planning committee voted nine to one to reject the application on the grounds of design quality, increased glazing and light pollution.
The applicant did not go to speak at the meeting.