A great piece of collaborative work across a project team which consisted of our Plainview Planning consultants, a Cotswolds based architects practice, and a landscape architect firm has resulted in a planning approval for a contemporary yet functional designer home, situated in the beautiful Slad Valley.
A contemporary dwelling in a rural context
The development scheme sought a contemporary three/four-bedroom dwelling within the generous plot of an existing bungalow, situated at the start of the Slad Valley in Stroud. The key aims of the design were to ensure that it complemented the rural, traditional setting and would meet the needs of the inhabitants as they enter old age.
An application had already been submitted to Stroud District Council when we were called in to assist. The case officer had advised that despite a previous approval for outline planning on site, they would be recommending the scheme for refusal. The reasons given for not supporting the application were complex and the applicant sought our professional expertise to advise how the scheme could be amended to address the Council’s concerns.
Formulating a comprehensive planning strategy
We reviewed the site history, the development proposals and the feedback from the Council and identified the key issues which included:
• the development of agricultural land;
• the intrusion into the countryside and residential developments outside the settlement boundary;
• concerns that design, scale, and density were not compatible with the character, appearance and amenity of a surrounding area that largely consists of traditional properties.
In light of the case officer’s response, we advised that the application should be withdrawn to enable reconsideration of the issues raised by Stroud Council, principally in relation to the siting of the new dwelling, both outside the settlement boundary and on, what the Council considered to be, agricultural land.
Making the case for an architect designed dwelling in the countryside
Following a full site appraisal, we formulated a planning strategy to respond to each issue in turn and to help focus the wider project team on where best to centre efforts to enable a positive planning outcome. This included:
• the preparation of a Planning Statement which responded to the reasons the Council were not supportive of the previous, withdrawn scheme;
• identifying how the scheme met local policy aims for housing development by responding to a demonstrable need for housing for an ageing population;
• evidencing that the site had been incorrectly identified as agricultural land. We ensured that the correct definition of agricultural land was set out and applied;
• showing how the proposals would meet the requirements of national policy and the revised NPPF, including the importance given to small and medium sized sites in meeting the housing requirement of a specified area, as well as the importance of windfall sites;
• advising the project team on moving the proposed siting of the dwelling to fall within settlement boundary, to negate fears that it represented an incursion on the open countryside;
• successfully arguing how the principle of residential use at the wider site had been established;
• working with the landscape architect and using their Landscape Visual Appraisal report to further justify that the development was not an encroachment into the countryside;
• working with the architects to show how modern design has a place in a traditional context and justified how this met the requirements within the Council’s own policies by securing high quality and distinctive design.
We were delighted to be part of the project team on this and glad that our inputs helped to forge the planning strategy which secured an approval for this beautifully designed scheme, one which is demonstrably sustainable, responds sensitively to its context, causes no visual or landscape harm and responds to a need for this type of housing.
IMAGE SOURCE: MH Workshop (2018)