What is a paragraph 80 (formally 79)?

Paragraph 80

Planning permission for your Grand Design

So, what is paragraph 80? It’s a Grand Design house. A house in the beautiful, isolated countryside. It’s the dream! However, obtaining planning approval for this kind of home is not always so dreamy. But, it can be done.

How to obtain Para 80 approval

Paragraph 80 (formally Paragraph 79 and before that 55) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), regulates the construction of new isolated homes in the countryside.

There have only been around 100 self-built home in areas defined as ‘open countryside’ since 1997 – when the policy first came about.

It’s not an easy process and there is a financial risk involved. So this kind of planning permission is not for the faint hearted.

In order to qualify for approval, there are special circumstances within Paragraph 80 of the NPPF which must be met:

  • The design must be ‘of exceptional quality’
  • It should be ‘truly outstanding’ – reflecting the highest standards in architecture (note – the word innovative was removed in the recent changes to the NPPF in July 2021)
  • And help raise standards of design in rural areas
  • It must also ‘significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area

In essence, your application for planning permission within the countryside must go way above the ordinary.

Let’s look at the details …

Exceptional quality

Quite a subjective term. What is exceptional? In terms of Para 80, there is no clear definition. But to put it in its simplest terms, you must show that your home will be pushing the boundaries of building design, construction and landscape – yet integrating with its surrounding harmoniously.

Reflecting the highest standards in architecture

A truly beautiful home – modern or traditional in style, is simply not enough. As well as incorporating sustainability, consultation with a design review panel will heavily increase your chances of approval. This will detail how the high standards have been met, and a consultation with a design review panel is something which your planning consultant will be able to assist with.

Help to raise standards of design in rural areas

A paragraph 80 home should be an experimental exemplar for rural architecture – in terms of materials, methods, technology and conservation.  A cookie cutter build will not do. Proposals for your development should take account of the characteristics of the local area – including building traditions, scale and materials used. And the story of the design should be demonstrated within the proposal.

Significantly enhance its immediate setting

Your design needs to stand out but also blend in. We did say this wasn’t an easy process! Look to establish an undeniable and meaningful connection between the structure of your build and the landscape it sits in.

Sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area

Every site is unique and requires a bespoke proposal. As mentioned, a deep understanding of local building traditions and materials will need to be taken account of in order for consent to be granted. But local planning authorities can be subjective and this is where the paragraph 80 applications need to be rigorous and objective – and led by a team of experienced and professional specialist consultants.

There are no guarantees and no magic formula, but if you are as determined as we are – please get in touch with SF Planning today to discuss your dream home and how we can help your chances of a successful paragraph 80 proposal.

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