Updated: Sep 1, 2021
This Para 79 project at Water Lane in Kent, produced by Hawkes Architecture (www.hawkesarchitecture.co.uk), Squires Young Landscape Architecture (www.squiresyoung.co.uk) and Hughes Planning (www.hughesplanning.co.uk) was granted planning consent on the 28th October 2020 by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. The committee unanimously approved the scheme following full support from, The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk), local parish council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council officers and consultees.
'Water Lane' is a 16 acre plot, that is to be transformed by extending the ancient woodland Gill habitat, re-linking the historic woodland area, whilst providing a robust enhanced natural landscape within. The Para 79 building explores the character of old Kent peg tiled roofscapes and enjoys stunning views across contained meadow glades beyond.
The scheme had been independently assessed as meeting the ‘high bar’ required for Para 79e) house proposals by The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk) following a site visit and several in depth design review panels sessions with a multidisciplinary Panel of expert volunteers.
One thing the Panel loved about aged tile roofs, is that their geometry and patina will soften over time in response to weather and the structure. The Panel also liked the exploration of organic flowing curves, developing an architectural language that expresses the tiled roof as a draping cloak over the building that lies beneath.
Regarding the landscape proposals, the Panel welcomes the design teams consideration of multiples iterations. The approved scheme responds extremely well to the Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) findings and demonstrates a clear link with local landscape policies and landscape character types. It is felt that the orchard area, subtle woodland connections and reinstatement of the historic field patterns are all beneficial. Furthermore, it is considered the proposed landscape design and building design respond well to each other, enjoying a symbiotic relationship; yet appropriately the house is ‘of the site’ and does not dominate the landscape.
Within the Planning Committee Report, the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council local authority planning officers notes the following:-
"Para 129 states that LPAs should ensure that they have access to, and make appropriate use of, tools and processes for assessing and improving the design of development. These include design advice and review arrangements. In assessing applications, LPAs should have regard to the outcome from these processes, including any recommendations made by design review panels. Para 131 states that great weight should be given to outstanding or innovative designs which help to raise the standard of design more generally
The design team’s submissions in respect of the design quality of the proposals is supported by independent analysis by The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk). The Panel is supportive of the design approach and considers that the submitted proposals have responded to the suggestions and comments made in their initial feedback."
"The comments of the Urban Designer and the Landscape & Biodiversity Officer, along with the considerations of The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk) are given significant weight as part of this assessment. The proposals are considered to meet the demanding, rigorous and exacting standards of Para 79 (e). The fact that the site is an unsustainable location outside the LBD (contrary to NDP policies HD1 and 2), does not count against the proposal as Para 79 (e) specifically permits development as an exception in such locations."
Please click here to read a full copy of the Planning Committee Report.