Planning given on rural house of outstanding architectural significance as JDP claims “paragraph 79” first


Aerial view of Rheabridge

Johnson Design Partnership (JDP), which saw interest in its services nearly double during Covid-19, has been working on the design of a two-bed property on pastures along a waterway in Shropshire since more than 12 months.

Paragraph 79 is an exception in the town planning system which allows the construction of new houses in the countryside.

Due to its location near Middleton Priors, the house had to meet strict criteria including exceptional, truly exceptional or innovative quality and reflect the highest architectural standards. It should also help raise design standards more generally in rural areas.

All of these conditions have been met by Bridgnorth-based JDP, the magnificent home taking inspiration from the agricultural nature of the area and incorporating a number of landscape improvements that will enhance the biodiversity of the site.

‘Rheabridge’ is formed from a series of independent blocks raised on a promenade to make a true feature of the creek, with striking staircases, multi-level viewing areas and a terrace to make owners feel at home with the nature.

“There are less than 50 paragraph 79 developments currently approved in the UK, so this is a major achievement for our practice,” said Vic Johnson, founder of JDP and the man behind the ambitious renovation project. Bishop Percy’s Grade I listed home in Bridgnorth. .

“The design itself is a blend of poetry and science, retaining a light touch that respects its own environment and that of Shropshire. We make use of many innovative features, such as photovoltaic on the garage roof, bronze cladding, cedar roof and extensive use of glued laminated timber, with the heating of the property supplied by a heat pump which uses water from the stream.

“Design and materials are just two parts of the process. There are so many different environmental / ecological factors to consider that the key to success is having the right experts to work with you on the planning and making sure that you are continually talking to planners and people like Design. Midlands.

Respecting the ecology at Rheabridge was essential to securing paragraph 79 and JDP addressed this issue by working closely with the landscape architects at Plan Design to design a landscape that would make improvements to the site’s hydrology, restore priority habitats and ensure that people and wildlife can thrive with each other.

The cornerstone of the approach was to introduce plans to improve the water quality of the stream by using land reshaping to capture runoff from surrounding fields and the nearby access road.

Wider site improvements align with the objectives of the local biodiversity action plan and target specific priority habitats, such as planting new wet meadows, reed beds, natural ponds, stabilizing stream banks and orchards of locally sourced fruit trees.

The design of the house’s immediate surroundings sought to capture the intrinsic beauty of the stream while reintroducing native flora and fauna previously lost due to a lack of management of existing trees along the water’s edge and farming practices. near.

Vic added: “I am very proud of the design we have created. The Architectural and Built Environment Commission (CABE) review committee assessed the design very well and the planners in Shropshire clearly agree with their positive recommendation for approval.

“There aren’t many architects who have a paragraph 79 approval to their name and we look forward to bringing the client’s vision to life, creating a beautiful and unique home they can live in while enjoying their natural environment. “

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