Planning permission granted for 9 new eco homesPlanning permission has been granted for 9 houses designed by Hockerton Housing Project.

The earth-sheltered homes will be built on a greenfield site on the edge of a rural village. It is (rightly) not easy to get permission to build on such sites, and the owner had to take the case through to Appeal after the local Council refused permission.

One way to get planning permission on greenfield sites is to demonstrate outstanding architectural merit through an innovative design. This is notoriously difficult as the bar is constantly being raised, and features such as new technologies, complex shapes, height, and overall size add to land, design, build and running costs.

Our approach is the opposite. Our designs are simple and have exceptionally low running costs. However, we argue that we remain innovative so long as measures such as SAP and Passivhaus do not recognise our use of super-insulated thermal mass as a heat store.

The Appeals Inspector for this application recognised the many benefits of the form of our design but felt it was too simple in its aesthetic to get planning permission on the basis of architectural merit, and there was insufficient innovation in his view. That raises questions as to whether planning policy deters affordable housing in rural areas, but there is a positive in that the affordability of our design and the wider scheme remained pertinent to the final judgement.

Permission was granted on the basis that the greenfield site is not isolated and as such the homes would support the economic and social vitality of the village due to their energy saving credentials, size, appeal and affordability to young people and downsizers. Both the Council and the Appeal also recognised that the homes, with their earth-sheltering, related landscaping and reed beds will improve the biodiversity of the site.
Date posted: January 29, 2018 | Author: | 2 Comments »

Categories: Eco homes New Build

2 responses to “Planning permitted for 9 rural eco homes”

  1. Ed Compton says:

    Well done!
    The planning process needs modernisation and I hope that the grenfell tragedy improves the building regulations to the advantage of eco builders.

  2. Ken Neal says:

    The idea that an architectural masterpiece in this day and age could still be an enormous, unsustainable, energy leaky wasteful edifice built with 20th century economics in mind is all wrong when what is required is something that takes account of the recent IPCC report and provides a modest home that takes account of its surroundings and uses minimal energy, materials and water.

    Unfortunately that is something many of today’s architects still cannot design. I do, however, know many young architects and designers who are well qualified to provide what is required now.

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