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Photovoltaic cloth to debut on 'country house clause' home

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Recently rebranded Gloucestershire-based practice Austin Design Works has won planning permission for a new country house featuring photovoltaic cloth

The firm, which recently changed its name from David Austin and Associates, claims the use of the material on the proposed 740m2 home near Milbury Heath in south Gloucestershire would be a first for a domestic building in the UK.

The scheme was approved under Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework allowing standalone homes in green belt areas under special circumstances - namely when the scheme is of exceptional and highly innovative design. 

In addition to the photovoltaic cloth, the five-bedroom Passivhaus home also has a biomass heating scheme, using wood chips from the owner’s recycling business to heat a swimming pool and provide hot water to five neighbouring homes.

A report by planners at South Gloucestershire Council said that ‘the combination of the use of locally distinct materials and detailing into such forms and delivery of a zero carbon dwelling (incorporating new PV and energy storage technology), that also exports heat to adjoining dwellings is certainly truly innovative in South Gloucestershire if not wider’.

The relaunched multidisciplinary Austin Design Works is now being run by brother and sister team Matthew Austin and Rachael Austin who officially took over the family business from their father David Austin last month.

Describing the project, a statement from the practice said: ‘This new country house is, in a way, the Son of Swinhay, a famous country house designed 16 years ago by David Austin, back when the practice was first established in the Gloucestershire area.

’The client was impressed by Swinhay House and wanted to use it as the design inspiration for this new house.’

As well as designing the scheme, Austin Design Works has provided landscape architectural consultancy.

The house is expected to start on site in October 2016.

Project data

Location: Milbury Heath, Gloucestershire
Type of project: New Country House NPPF55
Client: Private
Architect: Austin Design Works
Landscape architect: Austin Design Works
Planning consultant: Aspect 360
Structural engineer: N/A
M&E consultant: Greengauge Building Energy
Quantity surveyor: Broadhursts CQS
Planning supervisor: N/A
Lighting consultant: N/A
Main contractor: N/A
Funding: N/A
Tender date: N/A
Start on site date: estimate October 2016
Completion date: N/A
Contract duration: N/A
Gross internal floor area: 740m2
Form of contract and/or procurement: Construction Management
Total cost Undisclosed

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