Sensitive Welsh AONB Farmhouse
In between running their own business and managing a hectic calendar of sheepdog trials, our clients came to us to discuss rebuilding their family home in the Clwydian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The existing house had been extended over many years and had become a draughty warren that was a struggle to heat and maintain. With 4 bedrooms and four reception rooms spread inefficiently over 300sqm, our clients wanted to start from scratch to create their dream home.
Our clients’ brief was for a modern working farmhouse, well insulated, and easy to maintain. Internally they want a warm, light, and airy home, with an oak frame to add farmhouse character. They want an unhindered flow with minimal circulation space and the kitchen to be the social hub of the home.
Cold weather comes from the north-east, so the main entrance needed to offer protection from the elements and easy access to the farm. The kitchen needed to make the most of the predominant views across the valley towards the south-west and north-west towards the hills. The sun became ‘blinding’ during parts of the day on the southerly aspect, so the new house needed to consider how to control this without blocking it out.
As well as meeting our clients’ needs and coping with the demanding elements, we also needed to be mindful of the AONB’s planning guidance when it came to the design and scale of the new home. This includes guidance on the external materials used.
With Offa’s Dyke national trail passing 60m to the north of the site, in order to meet local planning policies, the design had to be truly sympathetic to its setting and could “not affect prominent public views.”
Despite the challenges created for bat surveys and drainage designs during the Covid-19 lockdown period, we successfully submitted a replacement dwelling application at the beginning of April 2020. We are delighted by the AONB Joint Committee’s response to the scheme, “The design of the new dwelling is commended as an example of development which respects its rural setting and will enhance the character of the AONB.” We are keenly awaiting the planning decision which has been slightly delayed by the current circumstances.