OAK BUILDING LOCATION
Set within a 0.4ha site surrounded by mature evergreens, the proposal was to improve on the existing dwelling by orientating rooms to receive maximum daylighting whilst creating a better flow between internal spaces. The materiality of the proposal was considerate of its surroundings, using a palette of natural materials such as exposed oak with render panels above a faced brickwork plinth.
After making minor amendments to the initial drawings, the clients agreed on a scheme to submit for pre-application consultation. The response from the council was largely positive; however, we had to work with the constraint of the proposal’s location within the green belt, conforming to local planning policy which allowed a maximum of 50% increase in floor area over existing. The council also insisted that the principal elevation front the highway in affinity with the adjacent houses. In addition to this, it was recommended that an arboricultural report be undertaken due to the close proximity of surrounding trees to the proposal.
The scheme was then slightly re-evaluated, working with the clients and taking into consideration the points raised by the council, including the introduction of a “dog-leg” to ensure maximum daylight and an aspect over the south facing garden. Once Mark and Janine were happy with the design a full planning application was submitted that included proposal drawings, arboricultural report and a design & access statement which detailed the design process and how the design addressed the relevant planning policies.
The application progressed through the planning process in a period of eight weeks, receiving positive feedback from the case officer and letters of support from the local community. That was until the eleventh hour, when the council decided the proposal did, in fact exceed the 50% allowable increase in floor area. This was because the council’s calculations had included the vaulted area within the galleried landing as usable floor space. As a result, we were faced with the difficult task of reducing the overall floor area of the proposal without inhibiting the nature of the oak frame house design. Added to this, we were given until the following morning to submit revised drawings; short notice to say the least!
Rather than reduce the size of the vaulted area, which would have impaired the character of the entrance hall, we decided the best course of action would be to subtly reduce the lengths of the North-East and South-West wings. This meant the flow of the internal layout remained unchanged, and only a minimal amount of floor area was lost in individual rooms.
After some frantic last minute alterations, the revised drawings were deemed acceptable and the clients received conditional approval in March 2011. An order was subsequently placed with Oakwrights for the Oak frame, at which time my colleague Mike commenced with the building regulations drawings.
Construction is due to commence in the very near future, for what is sure to be an impressive example of a traditional family home.