Paragraph 79 of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) is an exciting piece of planning policy which allows one-off homes if they are of exceptional quality of design, in isolated rural settings where refusal would otherwise normally be expected.
The policy was originally introduced in 1997 by then Environment Secretary John Gummer (hence it sometimes being referred to as “Gummer’s Law”). It was originally policy PPG7, and was intended to add to the tradition of the Country House which had done so much to enhance the English countryside. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Country House clause”. As planning policy has been updated over the years, the name of the policy has changed several times (PPG7 became PPS7, then NPPF paragraph 55, and finally NPPF Paragraph 79), and the wording has evolved, but the premise remains the same.
The current policy’s wording is as follows:
Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:
e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
– is truly outstanding or innovative, 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.
NPPF, paragraph 79 (criterion e) (2019)
Seymour-Smith Architects has an enviable track-record with paragraph 79 projects, with a 100% success record, four planning consents to date, two further projects currently in the planning system, and several more on the drawing board.
Helen sees these projects as a fantastic opportunity to create truly unique homes that push the boundaries of sustainable design and enhance the special sites in which they sit. She has achieved approvals in sensitive locations, including in the Green Belt and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
Click the images above / on the left for links to some of Seymour-Smith Architects’ paragraph 79 projects.