We recently gained planning permission in the South Downs National Park for the redevelopment of a detached family home in Fulking, West Sussex. We worked closely with officers from the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), which is the local planning authority, to ensure we designed a scheme that satisfied their needs and those of our clients too.
We had to satisfy numerous planning policies in our application; in particular, the ‘Dark Skies Technical Advice’ adopted in 2018. We also had to prepare a Biodiversity Report and an Ecosystems Services Statement for the application to be made valid.
The policies come from Core Policy SD2 Ecosystem Services of the adopted South Downs National Park Local Plan (2019), which sets out how the development proposal impacts, both positively and negatively, on ecosystem services. Dark skies are a special quality in the South Downs National Park and benefit both people and wildlife.
What are ‘dark skies’?
The definition is skies that are relatively free of light pollution; where you can see a clear starry sky and the Milky Way, stretching like a ribbon of faint stars across the sky. Evidence shows that in the last few decades, the South East of England has suffered a decline in the quality of our dark skies. The skies have gradually brightened with urban development, and as the population grows.
The result is we have to protect and strive to enhance them for the benefit of wildlife and people alike, and so we can continue to engage with nature on a galactic scale.
Our proposal for the redevelopment of this family home seeks to manage its impact on the dark skies, by respectfully adjusting the windows on an existing western-built extension, and designing a new bay in line with an existing rear outrigger. Here is the existing property.
This is how we have propsed to manage the impact on the dark skies:
We have also worked on the internal layout of the property to suit our clients’ family life perfectly. A new extension will allow for the provision of an improved family living room/dining area on the ground floor, a designated utility wing and a larger master bedroom space on the first floor. Externally, this will provide a symmetrical rear elevation that compliments the existing landscaped garden area. The proposed window alterations will allow for an upgrade and aesthetic improvement of the property.
The scheme will therefore take into consideration the existing envelope and scale of the original home whilst not causing any harmful intrinsic impacts to the surrounding landscape and South Downs National Park.
We have just received confirmation from our clients to progress onto stages 3 and 4 in the RIBA plan of works, called developed design and technical design. We are excited to apply some more design thinking to this scheme.
We are aiming for the project to be on-site in early 2021 with a view of creating a resolved layout internally that is respectful to its surroundings and works as a comfortable family home.
You can find out more about how we have helped other clients to gain planning permission for their projects here.