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North East property firm celebrates a first in Northumberland


smithsgoreThe Darlington branch of property and surveying firm, Smiths Gore, is celebrating after successfully achieving planning permission for the first residential new build of its kind in open Northumberland countryside.

The planning team at Smiths Gore drew upon the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to establish a unique case in support of the eco-friendly house in West Woodburn.

The planning permission is believed to be one of the first of its kind to be approved in open countryside since the introduction of the NPPF in 2012.

Initially, the house largely failed to comply with adopted local planning policy which stipulates new dwellings cannot be built in open countryside unless they are truly unique and outstanding in design.

Jo Robison of Smiths Gore said: “The policy provision for new houses in open countryside over the years has typically been geared towards the large-scale, grand country house and planning permissions on this basis have been rare.

“What we had here was a far smaller site and a forward thinking client who wanted a subtle but distinctive home which would push the boundaries of sustainable development in the countryside”

After working closely with the client and the architect to create an exceptional design, Smiths Gore prepared a planning case using detailed analysis of emerging and existing local policies, applying a different interpretation to sections of the NPPF that deal with housing in the open countryside and citing comparable appeal decisions.

Smiths Gore was successful in securing the planning permission for the sustainable, carbon negative home, which will be built using locally sourced timber and complete with a biomass boiler.

Jo Robison said: “We were very pleased that our involvement in the planning process has allowed our client to go on and build their dream home.

“We felt really strongly about this case as the dwelling is truly sustainable and a strong example of how good development can help support rural communities and raise design standards in the countryside”

Architect, Dan Kerr, of MawsonKerr, who was working on the project, said: “In order to convince the local planning authority to approve the build, we really had to stress that the house would fit into the local landscape and will be a low energy building with efficient running costs.

“It has been great to work on this one-of-a-kind development with a forward-thinking client and an excellent design team. I am really excited to see the final build.”

Smiths Gore has an optimistic outlook on the housing market and is keen to encourage good development in the region, as it realises the overall positive impact it has on the rural economy.

The company acts for clients with total landholdings in excess of 134,000 acres and has offices throughout the UK.

For more information on Smiths Gore visit www.smithsgore.co.uk

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