The Laing O’Rourke chairman is appealing against a decision by Brentwood Borough Council to stop him rebuilding his house in the exclusive village of Fryerning.
A high-powered team consisting of a planning agent, design expert and an architecture historian from Cambridge University argued O’Rourke’s case last week during an appeal against the council’s decision in October to turn the plan down.
O’Rourke wants to totally rebuild his property after previously being granted permission for a front and back extension.
The Brentwood Gazette reported the council turned down the demolition plan because the house is of “considerable architectural merit and makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area”.
O’Rourke’s design team said rebuilding from scratch would allow for a “higher level of design quality” than could be achieved if the existing building was extended and is in accordance with the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework.
Robin Carpenter, Essex County Council’s heritage expert, said the current building was inspired by Essex architect George Sherrin and demolishing it would be a “huge loss” to the Fryerning Conservation Area.
Bur the O’Rourke team said the council should not “over-egg” the importance of Sherrin’s work and added there was no evidence the house had any link with the architect at all.
They also argued the new plan is beneficial for the openess of the Green Belt in Fryerning because its footprint is 47% smaller than the extension design.
O’Rourke did not attend the meeting in person.
A decision by the planning inspector is due to be made later this month.