New Dwelling in AONB

Design and Planning

They’re decision to move out of town to a rural setting provided the Client with the task of finding the right plot for their needs with the best opportunity to develop and build their own home.

Their search led them to an old and disused farmhouse located at the foot of the Malvern Hills. A number of planning issues immediately raised themselves to allow us to ultimately replace the old with a new dwelling. Firstly, we were obliged to satisfy the planning department that the original building, although structurally sound, could not be renovated economically. Secondly the size, footprint and volume of the existing property would restrict the scale of the new dwelling creating challenges in meeting the Client’s brief.

The Client, a young couple with two young children, discussed their needs with me and together we created the brief which included the need to accommodate four bedrooms as well as a family bathroom and en-suite arrangement. Given the modest size of the original farmers cottage, this required imaginative planning and use of space to create a truly 3-dimensional solution incorporating vaulted ceilings under a complex interlocking roof form.

In planning terms, the site was very sensitive due to its location and prominence and the local planning authority was very keen to see a traditional dwelling which very much guided the design style and use of materials.

The design process, by definition, was collaborative ensuring that the Client’s vision was realised through the design before presenting to the planning department for consideration. However, the resultant house sits comfortably on its plot and is worthy of its position in the countryside set in the heart of the Malvern Hills.


This new family home is outwardly of a traditional style incorporating some of the local vernacular and using similar materials, however, internally the spaces are more contemporary in composition with beautiful vaulted spaces. The building also includes advanced features including highly insulated breathing wall and roof technology coupled with a ground source heat pump to reduce the carbon footprint of the build and of the building in use.

Given the sensitive nature of the site and the complexity of the planning process it’s interesting to consider the planning case officer’s assertion that this is a project “we got right”.

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