These exception houses have until recently been done under paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) but an amended NPPF was recently published and paragraph numbers changed so it is now under paragraph 84.  The contents of the parargraph are however unchanged where it states that houses in the open countryside can be permitted if the proposal; 

"is truly outstanding, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and....would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area."  

This is a very high bar to reach and permission under this paragraph is rare.  RCC, working with PKA Architects, felt a case could be made due to the very specific circumstances at this site.  The existing building is seen in the photograph below and clearly a well designed house would improve the character of the area but there were also potential landscape and ecological gains to be had on this site.  The landscape architect and ecologist were the further key members of our team.

Existing building on the site

As stated, the improvement to the appearance of the area was certainly demonstrable but then we also had to meet the 'highest standards in architecture' test.  The key here was that neither the architect or the client wanted a gleaming grand design that would stick out like a sore thumb.  Instead the proposed design retained an agricultural vernacular, whilst still clearly being a dwelling, that nestled in amongst the trees.  In addition we set out the case why high standards of architecture are more than skin deep and the proposed dwelling would not only achieve Passivhaus standard it would also incorporate some clever design options that would make the dwelling much more affordable to build and with a lower environmental impact.  

It was unfortunate that, whilst there were no objections from any consultees, including the council's landscape architect, and lots of local support, the planning officer couldn't support the proposal.  The application therefore went to planning committee where Richard was one of three speakers in support of the proposal.  There was an interesting debate around the proposal but ultimately five councillors supported the proposal with just one abstaining.  

We are really looking forward to seeing this house built out and our clients and their family living there.