Now Is the Time for your Perfect Dream House (or Potentially Time to Add £100,000s in Value to your Existing Land)
Isolated Houses Paragraph 80e changes to Paragraph 84e
19th December 2023
Update from Nicolas Tye – Tye Architects
Just in time for a read over the festive break, the government’s ‘National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)’ has hit our browsers and emails in preparation for 2024. Alternatively, you can leave us to do all the reading and just let us know about your land!
This specific blog deals with what was Paragraph 80e and is now Paragraph 84e.
84. Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:
(e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
- is truly outstanding, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and
would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
There are also some other policy types within Paragraph 80 as below, whose categories you may fall into:
(a) there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;
(b) the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;
(c) the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting;
(d) the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential building…
Here at Tye Architects, we deal with all planning policies. If your site fits into sections a) through to d), please do also let us know. It may also be that your site fits into other categories within the NPPF such as Paragraph 135b, so whatever your site, let us test it for you. Our initial appraisals are priced at £1,900 + 5% expenses + 60p per mile and VAT. We would also recommend a specialist planning consultant we have worked with before to review the site, whose fees can be confirmed once we are appointed.
Reviewing the Changes to Paragraph 84e
Policy 84e is the one most frequently used by our clients, as it has fewer specifics to other elements of the project and more potential flexibility for more sites.
This relates to just ‘land’ (no buildings necessary) and sometimes derelict structures to become single dwelling houses. Your proposed house can be smaller at say 150m2 or it could be larger at say 2000m2+. The site does need the right ‘ingredients’; ideally the site will have elements that are unique (this could be a woodland type, special landscape or feature, unseen historical features etc.), and must be reasonable enough in size (often 2-20+acres) to fulfil the test of significantly enhancing the land. This will have its existing base position in the existing visual landscape, but then it needs to be enhanced in a significant way, as the policy calls for. We, and the right team, can help assess this for you.
A series of consultants is often involved. This typically includes a digital level land survey specialist, a landscape Paragraph 84e specialist, an ecologist, a quantity surveyor for construction cost control (cost plan prior to planning), and a sustainability consultant. Other specialists may also be needed: planning consultants/specialists in P84e houses; tree, heritage, physical and digital modelling consultants and more. The clients should expect a number of consultants to be involved with associated costs, which also addresses the element of the policy that calls for the entire process and presentation to be ‘outstanding’. In other words, the ‘bar is high’; there is the expectation of a robust and thorough process with presentation and delivery.
So where would the house not work? If the house is not isolated, i.e. its land is in/right next to a town or city, then it is not likely to be accepted.
Some planning authorities will also request that the project have input from an independent ‘Design Review Panel’. This often happens because the authorities are not necessarily ‘trained’ to comment on such specifics of a design. Furthermore, some of the authorities find that this is a good independent sounding board for an independent professional team to be a critical friend to the views to verify that the scheme meets the high bar of the Paragraph 84e process.
What Does Paragraph 84e Mean for Me?
It should be noted that, although the Paragraph 84e is not different to the wording of Paragraph 80e, there were changes with the previous policies in PPG 7, PPS7, Paragraph 55 and 79. We should also be reminded that you never know when a planning policy wording will change or even more significantly that the policy could be removed!
Consequently, and in our view, there is no time like the present.
Tye Architects are working on sites from outside London to Cumbria, and from Kent to Devon.
Please do contact us with your potential site and we will do all we can to assist.
In the first instance, and to get the best out of your site, please do email us your boundaries and any requirements and we will review your project for you. From there, we’ll set up a call/zoom call or site meeting to move this forward for you.
Nicolas Tye, firstname.lastname@example.org