The location for this paragraph 79 house is a disused agricultural site in the Green Belt, on the outskirts of Taplow, near Maidenhead.
Due to the sensitive nature of the site, this new house has an upside-down hierarchy, with the main living spaces on the upper floor to make the most of the views out and maximise daylight, while the bedrooms are located on the lower level, semi-submerged into the landscape for privacy.
This was the practice’s third house to have been granted planning permission under what is now NPPF paragraph 79 (and was then paragraph 55). This policy allows isolated new houses in the open countryside if they are of exceptional quality of design. Although the previous two projects were approved at planning committee level, this one went to appeal. The appeal inspector found “that the careful siting, composition and articulation of the architectural forms into a naturalistic setting would reflect the highest standard in architecture”.
This approval set quite an important precedent, being (at the time) the first new paragraph 55 house to have been permitted in Green Belt that wasn’t a replacement dwelling.
The project was awarded funding by the Technology Strategy Board for the work being done by Ulster University on the Seasonal Thermal Energy Store which forms part of the house’s innovative energy strategy.