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NPPF Paragraph 55 replacement dwelling Grade II listed Farmhouse in Suffolk. Listed Building Consent


Hunter Architects & Planners have obtained their second planning approval for a NPPF “Paragraph 55” house in open countryside. The approval came following Listed Building Consent. The wording of the Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework generally permits such houses where “the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling” “is 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”

We were approached by our client to investigate the potential for redeveloping a site that once contained a Grade II Listed Farmhouse. Unfortunately the farmhouse had become derelict and the site contained little more than a pile of bricks and part chimney breast. The site was bounded by mature and protected trees but had been unmanaged for a long period of time.

Listed Building Consent

Consequently as the existing building was to be removed, listed building consent was required. Discussions were entered into with the Conservation and Heritage Officer as well as English Heritage (now Historic England) whether it would be better to seek the de-listing of the building or complete demolition via a listed building consent application. Ultimately it was decided that the delisting process could be quite complicated and time consuming, hence a listed building consent application was submitted and consequently approved.

Initial conversations with the Planning Department suggested any new dwelling on the site would not be looked upon favourably due to its location within open countryside however we felt that with the right design and strategy such an approval could be granted. Our approach to the project was to reflect the scale, presence and position of the former dwelling on site, and to retain the historic relationship of a dominant “farmhouse” and subservient “barns”.

The proposals ultimately sought to create a new Carbon Neutral family-home on the footprint of the Grade II listed farmhouse. A Listed Building Consent application was also submitted to justify the proposals. A modern twist of the traditional and vernacular architecture of the local area was created by utilising a material palette inspired by and reflecting local traditional materials including thatch for both the walls and the roof, and on-site grown timber for the cladding. The construction of the thick walls protects and shelters the dwelling on its most exposed elevation, while on the more private side of the building facing onto the woodland, the building is clad in vertical timbers. The timber frame of the building is intended to reveal itself, almost as a skeletal framework, which exposes itself from under a heavy coat. Vertical folding sliding shutters are proposed to the large ground floor windows, and sliding shutters are proposed to the first floor windows such that the building could be closed up in its entirety. Along the street elevation, the dominant form of the chimney creates a balanced elevation and links the areas of thatch and timber cladding. A large picture window at first floor level frames the view out of the site over the rolling agricultural fields.

This was the second such approval for the Hunter Architects & Planners and in the report to the planning committee the planning officer stated: “… it is considered that the proposal is a building of exceptional quality that is rarely achieved and should represent an exceptional case for consideration”. Ultimately the Planning Committee agreed and unanimously voted in favour of the development. Listed Building Consent was also granted permission.

Some comments during the planning application process:
“I can only applaud the applicants for their sustainable values and imaginative design. This home should be an inspiration to others seeking to build a sustainable house, which quite frankly we need more of in the UK. As a society we need to build more “one off” unique sustainable homes instead of hundreds of estates which lack imagination.”

“A beautifully designed contemporary interpretation of a traditional farmhouse. This build can only enhance the area and hopefully encourage many more elegant solutions to sustainable modern building.”

“Great to see a well thought out contemporary design that is both ecologically sound and pleasing to the eye. This kind of building is an asset to the area and a refreshing change to the pastiche modern “cottage” estates that we see so much of.”

Summary: A Contemporary, Unique and Innovative environmentally friendly detached family Replacement dwelling to derelict Grade II listed Farmhouse under NPPF Paragraph 55. Requiring Listed Building Consent.

Photographs/Images © Hunter Architects & Planners

Project Overview
Location: Suffolk
Type: Replacement Grade II Listed Home
Status: Under Development
Features: Listed Building Consent, thatched walls and roof. Carbon Neutral, Contemporary reworking of traditional farmhouse. NPPF Paragraph 55 Dwelling.
Similar Projects: Example 1, Example 2


Client Feedback
Service: Excellent
Communication: Excellent
Efficiency: Excellent

Planning Officer’s comments
“… it is considered that the proposal is a building of exceptional quality that is rarely achieved and should represent an exceptional case for consideration”.