Love or Hate Mr Bean, you can’t argue that he has some taste when it comes to appointing his architect for his new house in Oxfordshire.
Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP based in New Jersey were appointed by the famous actor to design him a show stopping house. The prestigious architects worked with a UK based planning consultant to navigate the proposal through our rigorous planning laws and successfully achieve planning permission.
The house is a typical Richard Meier Design, based on a grid, with the use of light permeating the house and a brilliant white façade. The house was given the RIBA South Award 2017.
How did they achieve planning permission for such a large contemporary dwelling in the countryside?
The local council planning officers recommended to refuse the proposal, together with the Chilterns Conservation Board on grounds that the proposal would be of ‘completely inappropriate design for this prominent site in an area of outstanding natural beauty’ (AONB). However the proposal went to planning committee and local councillors approved the plans.
The application was supported by the proposal’s planning statement which cited paragraph 11 of PPS7, the Government’s planning guidance for rural development at the time.
“Very occasionally the exceptional quality and innovative nature of the design of a proposed, isolated new house may provide this special justification for granting planning permission. Such a design should be truly outstanding and ground-breaking, for example, in its use of materials, methods of construction or its contribution to protecting and enhancing the environment, so helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. The value of such a building will be found in its reflection of the highest standards in contemporary architecture, the significant enhancement of its immediate setting and its sensitivity to the defining characteristics of the local area.”
This paragraph has now been superseded by paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which exceptionally allows for one off rural houses provided that they are ‘truly outstanding or innovative, reflect the highest standards in architecture, significantly enhance their immediate setting and are sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area’.
There have been very few approved nationally, partially due to lack of people using this route and secondly the high quality required of any proposed scheme is just not there.
Planning & Design Practice are hoping to move forward with a couple of potential paragraph 55 schemes in the near future - we will keep you posted!
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