We are often asked how easy it is to obtain planning consent for new houses and house extensions in the Weald Of Kent much of which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is tightly controlled to prevent unwanted development.
When we design houses in this kind of location, the most important overriding factor is the effect that the building or extension will have on the rural scene. After all it is that rural beauty that we are all keen to preserve.
Many clients are surprised to learn that the overall height and size of a proposed building, and the materials used, can be more important in terms of getting planning than the actual style of the building. We have, for example, obtained planning consent for many contemporary style houses with low-pitched profiles that sit well in the landscape and are possibly less intrusive than their more traditional neighbours.
Another factor is the sustainability of living in the countryside. New-builds in rural areas generate additional traffic, meaning that replacements or adaptations of existing buildings are often viewed more favourably by the planners.
The need to replace or adapt an existing building does generally limit the size of a house, however we have found that using techniques such as low pitch roofs and basements with sunken gardens can create more space without any detrimental effect on the rural landscape.
Overall we find that a well presented planning application is sympathetically received by most planning officers and they see it as an opportunity to approve a well designed building that contributes to the long term architectural heritage of a beautiful landscape.