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Appeal victory for John Pardey's 'country house clause' home

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John Pardey Architects has won permission, on appeal, for this 1,430m² ‘country house clause’ home in rural Surrey

The practice appealed after Waverley Borough Council’s planning committee rejected the scheme – earmarked for a wooded site in Munstead Heath, near Godalming – last August. 

Despite attempts to show the application should be approved under Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which allows one-off houses of exceptional quality, the local authority claimed the project was ‘inappropriate development in the Green Belt’ and ‘would have an adverse impact on the landscape’.

However the planning inspector disagreed with the borough, and approved the plans for the home and associated lodge house, off the road leading to Edwin Lutyens’ 1897 Grade I-listed Arts and Crafts house, Orchards.

The Pardey-designed house features a glazed ground floor set beneath an overhanging first floor.

The largely open-plan ground floor is broken up by four ‘boxes’ clad in polished plaster and timber veneer. These contain a cloakroom, TV room, cinema, and pantry.

The first floor, with six bedrooms and a roof garden, is set behind 4.5m-tall, off-white, glass-reinforced-concrete fins, which offer both shading and privacy.

According to the practice, the scheme ‘attempts to create a house that Lutyens would design if he had the technical means that lie in our hands in today’s society, building from the architectural legacy of the country house and utilising modern methods of construction’. 

Designed in collaboration with landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, the scheme has been supported by architectural big hitters, including TV presenter Kevin McCloud, writer Alan Powers and former AJ editor Isabel Allen (see document attached).

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Project data

Location: Munstead Heath, Godalming
Type of project: new Country House and lodge
Client: Jason and Lucy Mort
Architect: John Pardey Architects (Ralph Kent, project architect)
Landscape architect: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan
Planning consultant: Janet Long, Planit Consulting
Structural engineer: Momentum
M&E consultant: King Shaw
Start on site date: Spring 2017
Gross internal floor area: 1430m²

TLG Sketch Plan

TLG Sketch Plan

Refusal v approval - the reasons

Waverley Borough Council:
‘The erection of a dwelling and lodge is inappropriate development in the Green Belt [and] the proposed dwelling would have an adverse impact on the landscape by reason of its design, form and massing and would be harmful to the openness and visual amenity of the Green Belt and the character and natural appearance of the landscape the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area of Great Landscape value.’

Planning Inspector:
Limited views of the building would be available from the adjacent public footpath, in winter, through low level vegetation; but they would not affect the character of the area for those enjoying the woods. The addition of this building of high quality design, that responds to its location in a way that enhances the ability to appreciate the natural landscape, together with a landscape strategy that seeks to reinforce and enhance the existing woodland, represents a positive benefit and an exemplar of how such development could be carried out.’

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