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What is a NPPF Paragraph 55 House?

An NPPF paragraph 55 home relates to a home that is approved under the policy outlined in Paragraph 55 of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework). The policy states:

55. To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities.

For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:

– the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside; or
– where such development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets; or
– where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting; or
– the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling.

Such a design should:
–– be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;
–– reflect the highest standards in architecture;
–– significantly enhance its immediate setting;
and –– be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.

How does this policy differ from local policies or different local authorities?

Generally we would anticipate that all local policies and Councils would try and resist houses in the open countryside. Houses are usually preferred inside settlement boundaries and often limited to very strict exceptions. Paragraph 55 is part of the NPPF which is a national policy and is in effect at a higher level than local policies and can override those policies.

How easy is it to obtain approval for an NPPF Paragraph 55 House?

Typically it is incredibly difficult to obtain approval for a house in the open countryside. The Homebuilding & Renovation Magazine estimate that less than 100 homes have been built since the original exemption (PPS 7) was included 15 years or so ago.

What is Hunter Architect’s experience of NPPF Paragraph 55 Houses?

Hunter Architects & Planners have now obtained three NPPF Paragraph 55 House Approvals.

The following three projects have all been approved under Paragraph 55 of the NPPF.

The first and last schemes had previously received planning refusal by another Architect immediately prior to our involvement. The second scheme sought the replacement of a derelict Grade II Listed farmhouse and required careful negotiation with the LPA and delisting of the existing structure. Please click on each image for more project information.

NPPF Paragraph 55 House in open countryside

Innovative Carbon Neutral Contemporary home in open countryside, outside of the settlement boundary Planning Approval granted for “innovative design” contrary to Planning Officers recommendation.


An NPPF Paragraph 55 House Replacement Dwelling

Replacement of derelict Grade II listed Farmhouse (NPPF Paragraph 55 House) Contemporary Carbon Neutral dwelling in open countryside creating a modern twist of the traditional and vernacular local architecture.


NPPF Para 55 home innovative exceptional quality

Circular NPPF Paragraph 55 House in Open Countryside Contemporary innovative Carbon Neutral dwelling in open countryside reflecting the traditional form of the windmill which previously stood on the site.


If you have a site in open countryside that may be suitable for the construction of an innovative or exceptional quality house, please contact us and discuss how we can assist to build your dream home.

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