What is the Country House Clause?

21 July 2023

National planning policy framework advises on Building permission

The country house clause is an element of the National Planning Policy Framework, specifically Paragraph 80, that advises local authorities on granting permission for the building of houses in isolated rural areas.

In 1947 the Town and Country Planning Act stipulated that no new private dwellings could be built in Britain’s countryside. The aim of this restriction in house building was to maintain Britain’s green fields and as a result Britain’s landscapes are much different to our European neighbours who had no such act to curb countryside building.

Architects and home builders have been opposed to the outright ban on all rural building since the outset as it has strangled the supply of new houses in the country. Also, new houses built in isolated areas of the country had long been a testing ground for innovative designs and construction methods.

What type of country home does Paragraph 80 allow?

Planning permission for these isolated private houses would only be granted under Paragraph 80 if the ‘architectural design is of the highest quality’, ‘shows innovative ideas’ and is sensitive to the characteristics of the local area’.   Ground breaking or innovative eco technology may also sway planning officers to grant these specialised houses planning permission.

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