Oxpens paragraph 80 house
Hitchambury parahraph 79 house seen from the south west
Sheds para 79 house

What is paragraph 80?

Paragraph 80 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, then NPPF paragraph 79, and finally NPPF Paragraph 80), and the wording has evolved, but the premise remains the same.


Wording of the current para 80 policy:

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, 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 80 (criterion e) (2021)


Seymour-Smith Architects’ para 80 projects:

Seymour-Smith Architects has an enviable track-record with paragraph 80 projects, with  five planning consents to date and several more projects 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 80 projects.  And please do get in touch if you would like to discuss a potential paragraph 80 site / project: