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The Forum Exeter, Devon

An RIBA south west award wining building at Exeter University in Devon; The Forum. This building benefited from design review during the design and pre-planning stage

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Taunton and the Somerset County Cricket Ground in November 2018. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Exeter Quay by Jonathan Braddick

Photograph of Exeter Quay taken by Architect and Design Review Panel Manager Jonathan Braddick. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Exeter City Council

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training event 2018. Jonathan Tricker, Highways Engineer, Urban Designer & Director at Phil Jones Associates, gave a talk entitled: ‘Highway Design in Placemaking’

Steiner School Exeter

The design review Panel was engaged by Willmott Dixon during the pre-application design stage of the project to help them prepare a design that would be acceptable to the local authority

Design Review Panel Site Visit Poole

Photograph from a 2018 design review panel site visit carried out in Dorset in 2018. A full sit down design review panel was subsequently held in the Poole Borough Council Offices

North Grays Farm Para 80 House

External visualization for a NPPF paragraph 55 (now 79) house that was presented to the design review panel. This project has subsequently gone on to achieve planning permission and is now built on site

Design Review Panel Training 2017

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon in December 2017. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Exeter Quay - Rockfish Restaurant

A small but sensitive project in Exeter Quay; The Rockfish Restaurant has been designed by Grainge Architects who engaged with The Design Review Panel during the design & pre -application planning stage

Extra Care Development by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Pegasus Life secured planning permission through public inquiry for a Sarah Wigglesworth Architects scheme for a C2 assisted living community at The Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon. The Design Review Panel ( were instructed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to provide multidisciplinary, expert, independent and impartial guidance and feedback to the local authority, applicant and design team during the pre-application design stage.

Plymouth Hoe

Photograph of Plymouth Hoe, Devon. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Plymouth City Council

Design Review Panel Training

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon. The event was extremely well attended and incorporated a mock design review panel session and design workshop.

Innovative Para 79 House Approved - 'The Autarkic House'

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

StudioExe Architects (in conjunction with BIM Yorkshire MEP Building Services) were delighted for clients, Nick Moffat and Kyrenia Tew when planning approval was finally granted for their first of a kind innovative National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Para 79 (e) (previously 55) woodland family home. 'The Autarkic House' will be the UK and Europe's first fully off grid solar-hydrogen powered Passivhaus.

Click here ... to see the Teignbridge Planning pages that relate to the planning application and planing decision for this project (18/00254/FUL). A copy of the officers report can be seen by clicking here ...

The site is within the boundary of the Grade II Listed Oxton House Park and Garden, and also within the Teignbridge Area of Great Landscape Value, Devon. This required 'The Autarkic House' to meet stringent standards set out in Paragraph 79(e) of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The applicant first started progressing the pre-planning process in August 2015. The scheme, which has evolved through various design forms, has always been located in the proposed site clearing and has consisted of a two storey off grid family home that sensitively morphs into its natural surroundings. Since August 2015 various meetings with key stakeholders have been undertaken, including with Council Officers, Historic England and The Gardens Trust. In addition the proposed schemes were presented at 3No. Design Review Panels; December 2016, April 2017 and October 2017.

Specifically, the constructive process provided by The Design Review Panel was invaluable, and, at each Design Review Panel session, a multidisciplinary Panel of impartial experts provided their opinion and feedback. The experts, which were selected to ensure that they had the relevant experience to comment on the type of scheme in question, were instrumental in giving the design the direction needed to meet the requirements of the NPPF para 79 (e) of the NPPF:

"... be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas"

As well as having an exceptional design, 'The Autarkic House' has been developed to be truly innovative. The proposed house is to be the first fully off grid hydrogen house in Europe that can support modern family living, all year round. The mechanical & electrical engineering concept has defined the architectural form and construction. This concept, which supports legacy educational proposals will result in beneficial learning outcomes and will help raise the standards of design in rural areas.

"... reflect the highest standards in architecture"

'The Autarkic House' has been developed to unite architecture, landscape design, construction and mechanical & engineering to create an outstanding piece of design driven by a clear innovative concept - A new way of living ‘off grid’ fueled by hydrogen sourced from solar energy.

‘…significantly enhance its immediate setting

'The Autarkic House' has been developed to simply reflect the function of the house and provides a solution to the immediate environment. The house morphs into the sloped topography, the external envelop is seamlessly clad in larch planks sourced from the woodland, the main roof benefits from an extensive green roof with hanging ivy planting and ribbons of biodiversity will stretch across the site reaching into the proposed enhancement of the surrounding woodland.

"... be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area"

'The Autarkic House' has been developed to become a key part of the historic parkland. The building sensitively embraces the historic characteristics of the site and responds to a historic trail by physically embracing it. The existing historic trail is to be enhanced and highlighted through bluebell planting and Rev Swete’s 18th century woodland character is to be restored throughout the wider context of the site. This sensitive approach, together with the house morphing into the immediate setting, creates a synergy between the proposed architecture and the landscape.

The applicants, Nick Moffat and Kyrenia Tew have said:-

"After 6.5 years of R&D, planning and intense scrutiny from at 3 design review Panel sessions, we are now underway with construction of our Autarkic House.

We are very proud to announce that 'The Autarkic House':

– Is the UK and Europe’s first fully off grid, solar-Hydrogen house

– Is not connected to any power, gas, water or waste connection

– Is fully autonomous

– Generates all of its own power through the solar array

– Can store electrical energy indefinitely through the hydrogen store

– Can fuel its own hydrogen vehicles

– Creates clean Oxygen through electrolysis

– Provides an educational resource for Universities, Schools and Colleges to visit, monitoring energy production.

– Is the world’s first, Certified Hydrogen Fuel Cell Passivhaus

– Generates approximately 2,160 Kg of oxygen per annum

The Autarkic house will be a test case for making this system scalable in the future.

Autarkic Living Ltd was created to take the learnings and information generated from The Autarkic House, to the wider market to help make a real and meaningful impact on climate change.

The initial vision is to create small clusters of Autarkic Homes that provide

energy self-sufficiency.

We want self-builders, developers and consultants to talk about building Autarkic Homes as they do a Passivhouse. Homes that through energy self-sufficiency, would mean incoming utilities and associated infrastructure are no longer required. Homes that can provide a clean, green fuel source for travel with allocated pool cars and a fuelling station on site.

We would buy homes knowing utility bills and fuel costs are a thing of the past.


 Michael Bayly, Director + Architect at StudioExe Architects

Thank you to Michael Bayly, Director + Architect at StudioExe Architects, for providing the above blog article.

StudioExe was conceived to create beautifully crafted, high quality low energy architecture both in the city and countryside in Devon and London. They are an RIBA Chartered Practice currently focused on the commercial and one-off houses ranging from sensitive adaptations to signature bespoke houses.

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