Buckland Manor Farm

The Design panel reviewed the site and matters such as design, ecology, landscape, tree protection, access and construction and energy methodology were addressed. The development was submitted as a dwelling of exceptional quality and innovative design, which would satisfy the tests set out at Paragraph 79e of the NPPF. The planning officer made reference to the design panel in their report:-

First Review

Jonathan Nettleton – Architect, Blake Architects (Chair)
John Everitt – Architect, CE Architects
Daniel Gore – Architect, Tyack Architects
Paul Harris – Landscape Architect, MHP Design
Helen McHollan – Landscape Architect, Illman-Young

Presentation and Site Visit

Prior to the site visit, the panel had been provided with an information pack with the following headings:
Introduction / Analysis / Existing Building & Surveys / Design Strategies & Process / Design Proposals.

Richard Hawkes, Mike Davies with the client led a site visit, starting at a set of farm buildings to the North of the site, then along the approach drive from the North West concluding by circumnavigating the existing house. Attention was drawn to points in the information pack provided.

A presentation was given that explained the analysis, design strategies and proposals further. The only additional information provided was a sketch up model and video fly through which provided further insight. The presentation gave a legible analysis of the site that allowed a clear understanding of the relationship of the proposed house and its context.

Plans and visualisations were provided of the house, there were no comparative existing and proposed sections and elevations which would have aided understanding. It was advised that the proposal was still being developed, materiality and detail of the building had not yet evolved which the panel would expect for a planning submission.

Landscape proposals for a wider area on the farm, tree planting, contouring around tennis courts etc were discussed but no details were provided.

The architect suggested an LVIA would be undertaken for the full application, this should include a glint and glare analysis for photovoltaics.


Analysis of the ‘sense of the valley’ identified meandering and flowing landforms this was developed to create an organic architectural language which responds to these lines found in the landscape. Less convincingly the existing house was used to justify the broken massing for a new entrance hall.

The client had clearly been deeply involved with the development of the proposal and their brief had been met in the proposals.

The house is looking to use the existing approach from the West on an initially similar line. The drive then circles the house to the North, ascending then descending into a parking court and the primary entrance. (Oddly) Deliveries would be made to the front of the house.


Although located outside of Buckland, the site has visual connectivity with the church, the tower of which forms a focal point within the valley. The village has a strong sense of ‘time depth’ which is not found on the present site. The ‘rewilding’ or naturalising of the landscape in the approach to the house is welcomed and can play a strong role in emphasising the relationship with the village and anchoring the new dwelling into its contextual landscape.

The retained existing linear approach jars with the proposed house within its landscape. An alternative approach could hide the drive from the house, enhance the landscape / ecology on the valley floor / arrival hierarchy and revelation.

The existing site, house and structures make little contribution to the desirable landscape characteristics of the location providing an opportunity for the new dwelling to bring strong enhancement appropriate within the AONB. The location is suitable for a house of this size and this could be accommodated within the landscape.

The house has been designed to take full advantage of the views to the West and the internal spaces will be dramatic and revel in these views.

It is unfortunate that the organic character of the plan is not reflected in section or roof-form. The brushstrokes of the initial analysis sketches (2.6.4) are very evocative, capturing the unique three-dimensional quality of the site, with a richness that has been lost in the development of the elevations and flat roof. The familiar, precise and unbroken fascia lines of the principal elevation do not capture the charm of the earlier analysis overlays – maybe they weren’t attempting to, but if they were to then the building’s assimilation with the landscape might be improved for it.

The panel highlighted elements of the earlier massing studies (4.2.12) they thought more interesting and arguably more appropriate in this sensitive landscape setting – with the potential for a more articulated and dynamic roofscape that changes as the building is circumnavigated, like the piece of 360 degree piece of sculpture described by Richard.

The cantilever of the master bedroom suite is not resolved successfully. The design strategies show two successful examples of linear houses with cantilevers, both respond to a steeper topography creating a visual thrill and dramatic termination. The current proposal is apologetic, visually hardly leaving the ground and has a blind end, sadly losing a real sense of drama and excitement.

Consideration of a sustainable drainage scheme was indicated although not clear how the conveyance of roof water would be dealt with to site control features – it is required to be worked up into more detail, and would be disappointing if a piped system to a basin was proposed as essentially an ‘end of pipe solution’. To “reflect the highest standards in architecture” we would expect a fully integrated SuDS scheme that celebrated the journey of the water – grey water recycling was not mentioned, but again should be considered as part of source control.


The analysis provided was clear and gave a good understanding of the context in all its guises.

The general principles set out in the landscape proposals were welcomed. The naturalising of the existing grounds will assist with anchoring the new dwelling into its contextual landscape, reinforcing the rural character of the location.

The wider landscape proposals that were discussed should be shown. The focus on the valley frontage is welcomed but it will also be important to consider the hard and soft detailing all around the proposed dwelling so it fully assimilates into the rural landscape and makes a positive enhancement to the AONB.

Overall, the design fits the objectives of the client. The concepts are strong and appropriate to the site.

The consideration of suitable sustainable technologies and proposed use was appropriate.

The panel felt the designs were of a high quality and have the potential to be outstanding but need further refinement and evolution to produce a house with a coherent architectural language of the highest standards.

A colour scheme is no substitute for a clear understanding of materiality. This is an area that needs to be evolved and could help to convey a stronger sense of place.

Second Review

David Jones – Town Planner, Evans Jones Ltd (Chair)
Jonathan Nettleton – Architect, Blake Architects
John Everitt – Architect, CE Architects
Daniel Gore – Architect, Tyack Architects
Paul Harris – Landscape Architect, MHP Design
Helen McHollan – Landscape Architect, Illman Young
Joe Roberts – Architect, Roberts Limbrick Architects
Teresa Hazlewood – Landscape Architect, Pegasus


This is the second design review of a proposal for a new dwelling at Buckland Manor Farm. The panel reviewed a previous scheme on 7 November 2019, this former review taking place on site.

The proposal has been further developed by the design team and a formal planning application has been submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council. The planning application has been validated and awaits determination.

The local authority seek peer review of the proposal particularly in light of the requirements set out within the National planning policy framework (para 79 (e)).

The planning authority thus seek commentary from the panel as to whether in the panel opinion:-

The design is of exceptional quality, in that; – is truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area.

Meeting the requirements of para 79 is a formidable challenge. It is hard to satisfy anywhere and harder still in an AONB. You have not only to create a scheme of exceptional quality but convince others of its merits.


Paul Fong provided a brief introduction specifically referencing the original presentation and intent within this second presentation to concentrate upon those areas requiring further clarification as detailed within the panel review response. It was confirmed that whilst the proposed dwelling replaces an existing agricultural workers dwelling on site the scheme falls for consideration under para 79( e) rather than replacement dwelling policies.

Richard Hawkes then presented the revised proposals providing particular emphasis upon Hawkes architecture design ethos and how the practice seeks to learn and evolve from each of the many para 79 dwellings promoted and built.

The design ethos is very much one of been informed by the 2030 climate challenge agenda something which the practice has been committed to throughout its long involvement with para (55) 79 dwellings. From the earliest schemes the design teams para 79 schemes have meet the 2030 objectives.

The design team confirmed that the material palette comprise warm honey -coloured tones reflecting the tonal range of existing buildings in the locality the proposed setting is unique set towards the head of a valley with far reaching views. It is acknowledged and to be celebrated that the building will look different from traditional buildings in the locality and that in part is how one seeks to raise the standard of architecture more generally within a rural area.

Whilst the scheme is not seeking justification on the basis of technological innovation, the design of dwelling of exceptional quality is indivisible from meeting the highest standards of sustainable design in architecture.

The design team confirmed that the mechanical and electrical design will undergo continual evolution up to the point of ‘design fix’.

Planning conditions have been carefully framed and agreed with other planning authorities seeking to firstly ensure that the aims and sustainability objectives are met, whilst secondly allowing flexibility in how the final design solution delivers upon the schemes aims and aspirations.

The scheme now presented seeks to address commentary expressed during the previous design review, whilst continuing to provide a design solution which meets the client brief.


Panel members thanked the design team for the material supplied prior to review and the efforts made seeking to address the panel’s comments.

Clarification was sought in connection with the domestic curtilage. A disparity was noted within the documentation with different domestic curtilage areas been cited (0.61/0.35) ha. The tight residential curtilage indicated upon the review panel submission provided insufficient space to allow for normal domestic activities.

The design team confirmed that the tennis court is been retained and will effectively be part of the residential curtilage. The planning officer confirmed that the submitted plans had since been amended to extend the residential curtilage and if minded to approve the extent of curtilage would be restricted by planning condition. This would prevent the spread of domesticity into the areas proposed to be re-wilded.

The panel considered that (as they had considered within the first review) that the site can accommodate a dwelling of this size. It is not for the panel to comment upon the functional size of a proposed dwelling, clarification was sought upon the resource requirement needed to power and heat a house of this size. The design team confirmed that dwelling size did not necessarily equate to excessive running costs.
The design team cited a previous para 79 dwelling ‘Headlands’, where a comparable size dwelling has running costs of circa £15 per month.

Questions were raised in respect to the land form and terracing proposed, the design team confirmed that the site had been assessed at various times of the day. The design has been informed by this detailed assessment to ensure that sunlight and views are maximised for the property occupiers.

The rectilinear shape of the swimming pool was felt to ‘jar’ with the more organic form of the building and surrounding landscaping. It was questioned whether a natural pool would function better in the landscape and whether consideration had been given to a more naturalistic approach to the swimming pool.

The design team confirmed that the pool is located upon a terrace which is not exposed to surrounding views but equally maximises light and views out of the site, furthermore the design team confirmed that there is an existing rectangular swimming pool on site and the client is keen to have a similar facility within the curtilage of the new dwelling. The high cost of a natural pool was considered by the design team to be excessive.

The panel questioned the form and function of the drop-off point which forms a continuation of the main access drive serving the site. The design team confirmed that the client very much wished to split the area where postal/parcel deliveries would arrive from the more private main entrance into the dwelling. The panel questioned how visitors would be able to discern between the ‘trade’ entrance and main entrance and posed the question as to whether landscape features could be utilised to better denote the desired main access to the property. Panel members considered that the retaining walls to the front drop-off zone required additional refinement.

Review Commentary

The planning and urban design officers confirmed that the local authority are seeking peer review of this proposal and are looking to the panel to confirm whether in the panels opinion the proposal meets the high standard required of para 79 (e).

The Cotswold conservation Board have objected to the proposals insofar as the board do not consider that the proposal is sufficiently sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area and is contrary to JCS policy SD7 and the Cotswold AONB management plan.
Officers are concerned about the size of the building, and a perceived disconnect between front (western elevation) and rear (eastern elevation) the general feeling that the bulk needs to shrink and the building needs to ‘hunker down’.

Panel discussion then commenced, the proposed SuDs strategy does not feel fully resolved, the solution proposed is an end of pipe solution utilising a pond (formed on line of existing stream) to provide attenuation. The panel were unsure where rainwater would be attenuated. The SuDs strategy will need to be resolved either as part of this application or condition compliance.

The proposed drop-off/arrival point to the front elevation was discussed in detail; the area was felt to be small and fussy, members queried the legibility of the arrival point (could cause confusion for visitors).
Panel members considered that the scheme has evolved significantly since first review and that the proposal presented creates a strong sense of place, the building sits comfortably within the landscape and is close to being “quite special”.

Panel members were generally relaxed about the scale and overall massing. Considering the detailed design elements, the front elevation (west) was considered to be the most successful.

Members considered that the main ‘diagram’ of the building (viewed from the ‘front’) is very strong and carried through from the early hand drawn sketch to the current proposal. The early sketches give a definite feel of a lightweight upper storey and a more heavyweight lower storey relating to the views and the overlapping views of the distant hills. However, the current images seem to have lost that character. The timber upper storey now seems ‘heavy’ and weakens the diagram losing the definition from the early sketches. Can the upper storey be lightened and incorporate more glass (or the suggestion of glass?) The panel are happy that this is a matter of refinement rather than redesign.

In response to the first review the form has been reconsidered and much of what has been achieved successfully addresses the panel’s previous concerns. In respect to the roof and eaves detailing some members considered that the undulating roof form was slightly apologetic “limp”.

In contrast to the front (west) elevation members considered that the rear (east) elevation was less successful, comprising a somewhat clumsy mix of forms, the carport appears heavy and the cantilever section to the northern end of the building was not considered to be fully resolved.

The 3D view and elevational treatment to the North/Northwest lacks cohesion and still feels quite unresolved. We understand there is a lot going on here, but the various elements lose the flowing, meandering forms that the early concepts promised. It is not the materials, but rather the forms which seem to compete rather than complement each other. Examples of this are the roof meeting the landscape in a clumsy fashion and the detailing in certain areas where different forms and materials meet.

The relevance of the cantilever is still hard to understand. The language seems derived from an early precedent shown of Japanese style pavilions which appealed to the client. The early concept sketch and the ‘pavilion’ feel of the cantilevered element seem to be at odds with one another lacking the organic nature of the design concept.

It lacks harmony currently and has a distracting symmetry which is at odds with the more organic, asymmetric forms proposed elsewhere. Do the top and bottom extrusions have to match for instance?
It is acknowledged and accepted that the cantilever element has evolved from the very earliest design iterations however members considered that the cantilever as now proposed is somewhat compromised and ‘jars’ with the remaining architectural form. The sculptural ambitions of the architect in the design of the cantilever are acknowledged however there was general agreement that this element of the design required further refinement and resolution.

The panel considered that the work undertaken in defining characteristics of the local area and of the site and setting has been thorough and sound. The panel supports the site and landscape strategy. The proposed rewilding is appropriate and will help fulfil the enhancement requirements.


The work undertaken since the last review in working up this scheme has on the whole being a very positive exercise.

The proposed sustainability objectives are acknowledged if followed through to detailed design will assist in contributing to the requirements of para 79 (e).

Taking the scheme in its totality the panel considers that subject to refinement of those elements set out above this proposal has the potential to be a truly outstanding piece of architecture which would help to raise the standards of design generally in rural areas.

The proposal nestles harmoniously into the typography and is sympathetic to the landscape context, the panel’s view is that the proposal is ‘sensitive to the defining characteristics of the area’.

The commentary within this review does not comprise an exhaustive list but I believe are sufficient to show that some further refinement and resolution as required. The panel remains open to consider the design team’s response to this review and confirmed that it would be happy to consider and comment upon the design team’s response in a further written submission in preference to a third physical or virtual meeting.