Select Page

What is a NPPF Paragraph 80 House? (Formerley Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 55)

An NPPF paragraph 80 home (formerly Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 55) relates to a home that is approved under the policy outlined in Paragraph 80 of the NPPF (formerley Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 55 of the revised NPPF). The NPPF stands for the National Planning Policy Framework which is a central government document. The policy first of all states:

79. To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. Planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services. Where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby.

80. Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:

a) there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;

b) the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset, or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;

c) the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting;

d) the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential building;

e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it: 

– 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.


The revised NPPF was published in July 2021, when the policy was renamed from Paragraph 79 to Paragraph 80. Despite the name change, the policy for building new homes in open countryside has largely remained the same. Perhaps most importantly for clients wishing to self-build a country house, the design no longer needs to be “innovative”, however the design does still need to reflect the highest standards of architecture.

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

Generally we would anticipate that almost all local policies and Councils would try and resist houses in the open countryside. Furthermore, houses are usually preferred inside settlement boundaries and often limited to very strict exceptions. Paragraph 80 (formerly Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 55) is part of the NPPF which is a national policy and often more recent than local policies. It is in effect at a higher level than local policies and can therefore potentially override those policies.

How easy is it for an Architect to obtain planning approval for an NPPF Paragraph 80 House? (formerly Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 55 House)

Typically it is incredibly difficult for an Architect (and therefore) homeowner to obtain approval for a house in the open countryside. An article in the Homebuilding & Renovation Magazine estimated that less than 100 homes have been built since the original exemption (PPS 7) was included 15 years or so ago. Consequently such houses are quite rare.

What is Hunter Architect’s experience of NPPF Paragraph 80 Houses?

Hunter Architects and Planners have now obtained several such NPPF Paragraph 80 House Planning Approvals across the UK.

The following three projects have all been approved under the relevant Paragraph of the NPPF (now Paragraph 80 – previously para 55 & 79).

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. The third scheme sat without much obvious context hence more options were available. Please click on either image for more project information.

First of all, our Innovative Carbon Neutral Contemporary home in Norfolk. Located in open countryside and outside of the settlement boundary. Planning Approval granted for “innovative design” while contrary to Planning Officers recommendation.


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


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


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

Get Started

This is personal, so we recommend meeting face-to-face for a head-to-heart discussion. We want to grasp exactly what you’re looking for while understanding more about what is achievable in time, space and budget.

A phone call sets everything in motion. Call us on 0161 926 9039 today.