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Government offers 'glimmer of hope' for country houses

New planning minister Keith Hill has given supporters of the PPG 7 country house clause a reason to battle on by admitting that there is still a chance the clause could be retained.

He told the AJ that the decision to kill the clause was 'not absolute', insisting that he sympathised with architects who want to retain it.

The government broke the news earlier this year - under a different planning minister - that it wanted to remove the clause that allows country houses to be built 'if they are of an outstanding architectural standard'. Hill hinted at the reasoning behind the policy: 'In my experience, not many of the houses have been innovative.

They have to pander to the tastes of both planning committees and the wealthy.'

He added: 'Its removal has not been set in stone. I understand the concerns of architects. It is a great chance for them to deliver signature buildings. And I can see why they would want to keep it.'

Supporters of the AJ campaign to save PPG 7 see Hill's comments as a 'glimmer of hope'. RIBA past-president Paul Hyett said: 'If the government is giving us the smallest chance, then it is to be welcomed.'

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