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Country house wins appeal first

Adrian James Architects has amazed the planning and architecture fraternity by winning an appeal regarding its plans for a Modernist country house in the Cotswolds.

In an unprecedented move, the result was also the first appeal victory for any architectural style since the government revealed its intention to abolish the country house clause in January 2001.

The planning inspector said the practice's proposals - for a massive, 'uncompromisingly modern' house on a 24ha site - were 'truly outstanding' and would 'significantly enhance the immediate surroundings'.

Adrian James, the practice's principal, said he was 'both amazed and delighted' by the decision, given the current government position on the abolition of the clause. 'We have been waiting for months now to find out what PPS7 [the replacement for PPG7] was going to say, ' he told the AJ. 'We were really worried that, if it had been published before the inspector made his decision, we were done for.

Given the potential change to the planning policy permitting such houses, ours may well be the last country house ever permitted under this policy.'

According to James, the house aims 'not to be historicist but to make reference instead to the tradition of country houses'. The project - which he said is 'without question Modernist' - is made up of a foursquare upright form with a 'plasticity' in its elevations and roofscape that aims to make it 'deeply sculptural'.

The design also includes a gazebo guest house, which will provide spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Tim Corner, the barrister representing the project at the appeal, which also picked up the unequivocal support of both Robert Adam and CABE, argued that the landscaping would enhance the surrounding environment.

The project would, he said, improve the area by making full use of the surrounding panoramics and creating a new 'spiralling approach' to the house.

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