Millionaire wins battle to build eco home on own island

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The Independent Online

A millionaire has won a fight with planners to build a luxury eco-home on his own south coast island.

Edward Iliffe, 41, wants to build the £2.5 million dwelling for his family on 46-acre Green Island, the third largest of five islands in Poole Harbour, Dorset.

The six-bedroom timber house will be powered by solar panels and heated by a wood burner. Water will come from a well.

The new property will be a purpose-built, three-storey house made of cedar logs, built in Canada and shipped over.

Mr Iliffe, from Newbury, Berkshire, told the Bournemouth Echo he was delighted by the decision.

He said: "I'm sure my family and I will use it quite a lot and will enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and beach there. And we will use it in winter because we will have log burners."

The majority of the island - defined by a variety of habitats including woodland, beaches and mudflats - is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Mr Iliffe bought the island, previously used by a registered charity for holidays for the disabled, in 2005.

Planning permission was already granted to replace a bungalow on the island with a new property, but Mr Iliffe said this permitted house did not cover his family's needs.

His proposal is four times the size of the existing bungalow, and twice the size of the permitted replacement house.

Mr Iliffe said his plans include a 10-year management programme to rid the island of invasive plants like rhododendron and return it to an indigenous landscape.

Mr Iliffe's appeal statement said: "The proposed development has no detrimental visual effects on the AONB or the Heritage Coast and accords with the Development Plan and other material planning policy guidance in this respect.

"Additionally, there are significant other material considerations that weight substantially in favour of this development.

"With regard to nature conservation the proposal not only has no adverse effects, it significantly enhances nature conservation interests."

Purbeck District Council raised concerns the proposals would harm the character and appearance of the area, and rejected his application in October 2009.

But Mr Iliffe appealed the decision and planning inspector David Nicholson has found in his favour, saying Mr Iliffe's proposal was an improvement on the design of the already-permitted house.

In the appeal decision statement, Mr Nicholson said: "Contrary to the views of the council, I find the permitted house is of limited merit as its rather generic design owes little to the unique nature of the island.

"The proposed dwelling, on the other hand, as set out in the design and access statement and as summarised above, would be far more sympathetic to the surroundings."

He went on: "I find that the advantages put forward would be greater than the harm to the character and appearance of the island on account of a larger dwelling."

Mr Nicholson allowed the appeal on the condition that the "highly sensitive character of the area" was protected.

Mr Iliffe is the great-grandson of the late newspaper magnate Baron Edward Iliffe, and his family are ranked 272 in the Sunday Times Rich List with a £240 million fortune.