Select Page
Read about the project

NPPF Paragraph 55 contemporary carbon neutral self-build house in open countryside


Planning Approval granted for this “innovative design” of bespoke carbon neutral Self Build Home, contrary to Planning Officers recommendation, following another consultants previous attempts.

Following two unsuccessful attempts, by a local Architect, to obtain planning approval, the client approached us to design a carbon neutral home for their family under NPPF Paragraph 55.

The site was located outside of any settlement boundary, in open countryside, and as such was contrary to local planning policies. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes an exception, under Paragraph 55, in special circumstances where designs are “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”.

Our intention was to create a contemporary and innovative building that took inspiration from the area rather than copy direct historical references or create a pastiche of earlier architectural forms. The proposed materials, lime based renders, green roofs and timber cladding along with local flint, are all vernacular materials however the approach and composition as whole is intended to be contemporary.

By applying this approach we believe the building will sit within its context whilst also achieving a modern, contemporary approach to a new dwelling, the design of which had been criticised in previous applications.

Ultimately following a robust, detailed planning application package including a planning statement justifying the issues, the Planning Committee voted and approved the application, at our first attempt, even though the Planning Department had recommended planning refusal. In approving the planning application, the Committee stated: “It is considered that the proposal would also achieve a high standard of sustainable construction and innovative design” and “Although of contemporary design, the proposed dwelling makes reference to local architectural traditions”.

Some comments during the planning application process:
“I was blown away I could immediately see it is not only very innovative but also very beautiful, to drive out of my house and see this would be as good a start to my day as I can think of.”

“The building looks like something from grand designs and it would be exciting to live near such a dwelling”.

“It’s really nice to see something that is completely different to these horrible little boxes that everyone is building. How nicely it sits on the plot with the trees and it looks as if it has always been there. I would be very happy to see such a build”.

“Wow, what a super design. I really like it. It’s a great way to show the sort of houses we should be building and setting a good example to others”.

“How refreshing to see such an individual and interesting style of house. Being in the building trade, it’s nice to see contemporary style of buildings rather than the usual. It blends with the landscape. I love the flint feature using historic materials”.

“Wow what an exceptional building project, this looks an amazing and contemporary build, this would complement any village and we would be very lucky to have such a build in our village.”

Summary: Innovative Carbon Neutral contemporary family home in open countryside by Cheshire Architects


Photographs/Images © Hunter Architects & Planners

Project Overview
Location: Breckland, Norfolk
Type: New Self Build in open countryside
Status: On site
Features: Carbon Neutral, NPPF Paragraph 55 Dwelling, previous refusals. Green roof, natural flint walls.

Similar Projects: Example 1, Example 2


Client Feedback
In overturning the Planners recommendation for refusal, the Planning Committee stated “It is considered that the proposal would also achieve a high standard of sustainable construction and innovative design” and “Although of contemporary design, the proposed dwelling makes reference to local architectural traditions”.

“We want to say a huge thank you again. The house really is stunning and almost daily we notice little details that we never appreciated before. There are so many wow factors, I think when people come round, they won’t talk to us as they will be looking around all the time :)”


Share this: