Paragraph 79e makes reference to 2018 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) relating to building new isolated homes in the open countryside.
Para 79e, as it is commonly known, gave hope to many allowing the possibility to build a home on land that otherwise would be totally unsuitable for development as long as:
e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
- 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 local area.
Initially, the design element may have been seen to be reasonably straightforward to accommodate, in truth it has been a real trial and tribulation.
It is acknowledged that planning policy, both national and local, strongly resists development in open countryside, green belts and the plethora of limitations for rural development.
Often seen as a re-hash of ‘Gummers Law’ and the old PPS7, Paragraph 79e espoused the belief that landowners could build their own homes in the countryside providing they were of an exceptionally high architectural quality or innovative in nature, which gives rise to the ‘special circumstances’. It was generally designed to improve the quality of design in more rural areas.
Has Para 79e been successful?
I would argue that in part it has, but I think that there is room for improvement, especially in the understanding of what a Para 79e dwelling is and how to achieve it. It would appear that the take-up has been slow and there have been more refusals and dismissed appeals than approvals or appeals upheld.