PLANS to replace a derelict bungalow on a prominent walking route within the Exmoor National Park have been officially quashed by the High Court.

The South West Coast Path runs for 630 miles between Minehead and Poole, taking in the northern edge of the national park.

The national park, in its capacity as the local planning authority, recently approved plans to demolish and replace a 1920s workman’s bungalow which lies on the coast path near Bossington, between Minehead and Porlock.

CPRE Somerset announced in early-April that it would seek to overturn this decision via a judicial review, arguing the replacement property would be “inappropriate” and that the national park has ignored local objections to the scheme.

The national park has now accepted its decision was “unlawful” and the planning permission has been officially quashed by the High Court without needing to go to a full public hearing.

The Hurlstone Bungalow – described by the CPRE as “a modest wooden workman’s bungalow” – lies on the coast path north of the National Trust car park in Bossington, a short distance from the River Horner.

The bungalow, which dates back to 1924, has been uninhabited since 2016, and lies next to two smaller buildings which were abandoned many years before this date.

The property was recently acquired by London-based architect Ivo Carew, who submitted plans to demolish the structure and replace it with a larger, more modern bungalow with a biomass boiler.

Somerset County Gazette: An artist's impression of the proposed replacement bungalow.An artist's impression of the proposed replacement bungalow. (Image: Ivo Carew Architects)

Mr Carew intended for the property to eventually be used by a local family of four, who have links to Porlock Weir.

Under the national park’s replacement buildings policy, any replacements to buildings within the national park’s borders should be of a “similar scale and massing” to the original building, to prevent damaging the landscape and character of the local area.

The national park’s planning committee voted on March 11 to approve the plans by ten votes to five, with two abstentions – going against the advice of their own planning officers and against the wishes of the National Trust, CPRE Somerset and the South West Coast Park Association.

CPRE Somerset – also known as The Countryside Charity – lodged a pre-judicial review action letter with the national park authority, to see if the decision could be reviewed and overturned without taking matters all the way to the High Court.

The national park authority has now accepted that its decision was “unlawful” since it contravened its own replacement buildings policy, and accordingly planning permission for the site has been scrapped.

CPRE Somerset chairman Hugh Williams has welcomed the decision, stating: “We took this legal action because we wanted to show our support for local residents who wish to protect the unique qualities of the coastal path from inappropriate development.

“We were also concerned that only some of the elements of the national park’s replacement buildings policy had been considered by councillors, while others had been overlooked. This would have set an unwelcome precedent.

“We are a small charity, but we feel it is important to speak out when our finest landscapes are threatened by bad planning decisions.

“We are grateful for the financial support we received from local objectors to help fund this action.”