Working with a local developer and a pro-active multidisciplinary team, we have secured planning permission and prepared detail design information for a new-build house on the edge of a picturesque village within the North Wessex Downs AONB.
The 5-bedroom, 320m2 house, whose name derives from a nearby Roman archeological site, has landscaped gardens at the front and rear. Based on the principle that the local vernacular can provide constructional and material clarity, as well as significance and charm, the house has been designed from careful studies of the village and its surroundings. To paraphrase, it may take ‘a village to raise a child’ but it takes a landscape to inform a building. We were intrigued by the brick boundary walls that seem to connect all the houses in the village, and by how these walls sometimes grow to form the building itself, or carry a block of another material creating an upper storey. Outside the village, the wider setting is protected chalk downland, and to gain permission the visibility of the house had to be subtly attuned to this landscape.
From the road, a private tree-lined drive turns into a forecourt with garages. Entering a gate, you approach the house on foot through a south-facing brick-walled garden, planted with fruit trees. Inside, the accommodation is planned round an L-shaped ground floor that gives privacy and views out into the back garden. Glazing is extensive and full height to make for bright, modern spaces. Upstairs there is a master and guest suite at either end, with family bedrooms in-between. The prominent roof line of the upper storey relates to agricultural buildings in the fields beyond, and the use of inexpensive tarred black timber marks a familiar register in the rolling landscape.
The high-quality proposals, supported by heritage, landscape, ecology and environmental reports, enabled the application to be approved without complication under delegated powers. The developer has used our detail design drawings to plan the build efficiently, and minimise problems on site by ensuring good co-ordination at junctions and between trades. The house is scheduled for completion in Spring next year.