The Client for this project came to us having found a prospective site that was for sale and he wanted to know if it would be possible to get planning permission to build a new build house on it. The site didn’t have planning permission and our Client didn’t want to take the risk of buying the site without the assurance that it could be granted. As such the brief was to quickly prepare a sketch scheme that could be presented to the planning authority and discussed as part of their pre-application process.
The site was in a large garden of an existing house and whilst it was surrounded on all sides by houses it did have road access. Whilst we quickly got to know what the Client wanted from the house the challenge of the brief was the relationship of the house to the potential neighbours and avoiding issues of overlooking.
We developed a courtyard scheme where the primary view for all the new rooms would be into a new central landscaped courtyard. The design would primarily be on the ground floor to ensure privacy for our Client and the neighbours. For the first floor master suite we identified specific views and proposed a vertical fin detail in front of the windows that could limit the angle of view so that there wouldn’t be the possibility of overlooking into the neighbouring houses.
As time was of the essence, we quickly prepared a scheme using hand drawn plans and 3d views with enough detail for discussion with the planning authority. The pre-application advice process only requires a limited amount of information and takes 2-6 weeks. For projects, such as this one, where the prospect of gaining permission is unclear and the Client, understandably, doesn’t want to risk significant amounts of money submitting for a full application, the pre-application process provides some level of comfort when considering whether to take on a project.