Submission of High Quality Innovative Rural Housing Scheme

IPS were pleased to submit an application for full planning permission on behalf of our clients; Knightwood Developments Ltd, for the redevelopment of a redundant farm complex in Oxted, Surrey. The proposals comprised a comprehensive redevelopment to deliver 29 dwellings, including the conversion of locally listed buildings and rationalisation of the existing modern farm buildings to reduce the built massing on the site. IPS were engaged as and planning advisors and project managers for this application, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of consultants and delivering an imaginative, innovative scheme which is intended to meet the housing needs of different groups from within the rural community.

Our client is currently rationalising their existing business as farming operations move from a mixed to a primarily arable operation. This includes the consolidation of operations and storage of crops and machinery at more modern farm holdings within their wider land ownership. Some of the buildings at the site continue to be used for agricultural storage and temporary storage uses, but the occupation by livestock has ceased.

The site lies within both the Metropolitan Green Belt, the setting of two Listed Buildings and the Broadham Green Conservation Area. The application proposals thus needed to be carefully considered and led by the individual disciplines, namely landscape architects (The Landmark Practice) and heritage consultants (Levitate). The site proposes the redevelopment and conversion of buildings at the site providing some 29 homes. Proposals include a significant reduction in the footprints and volume of built form at the site (of greater than 50% from existing) and through sensitive design of new buildings and landscaping, improved setting of the Listed Buildings, the enhanced character and appearance of the Conservation Area, as well as the improved openness of the Green Belt.

The housing mix was informed by consultation with the local community and in particular the need for homes within the rural area. This includes a mix of family homes, affordable homes and accommodation for the independent elderly persons (over 55s). It is intended that these homes will support the vitality and viability of the rural community and address some of the unmet housing need within Tandridge, particularly considering the current chronic extent of the housing land supply shortfall. In particular, the scheme seeks to provide for those wishing to remain within the rural community but who presently cannot enter the housing market as too few affordable homes are being delivered, or who may wish to downsize from their family home, to a more appropriate form of housing while remaining within a rural environment. This is extremely important for those older members of the rural community who would otherwise face increasing rates of social exclusion remaining in far more isolated locations in the rural area. Loneliness, wellbeing and mental health are increasingly important issues facing adult social care services and the NHS.

The proposals are also regarded as of exceptional architectural quality and provide rural homes for older persons wishing to remain independent within the rural community, those seeking affordable housing from within the rural community together with an element of open market housing. The intention is to create a small rural enclave of homes which will form a community. The community will be provided with ample amenity and recreational open space, access to public transport and provided with a new footpath linking the site with Broadham Green. As such it is considered that the proposals can legitimately be regarded as of exceptional quality which will raise standards of design more generally in the rural area, significantly enhance the immediate setting (particularly in respect of heritage assets) and are sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.

The proposed landscaping scheme is also considered to comprise a significant benefit from the proposals, through hedgerow and tree planting the visual impression the site has on the wider Green Belt will be reduced. Furthermore, the extensive landscaped area will further support the creation of habitats and secure a significant net gain in the biodiversity value of the site, whilst also delivering accessible space for the enjoyment of residents.

IPS are hopeful that the proposals at Perrysfied Farm will become an exemplar scheme which will help to address some of the rural housing needs of Tandridge District, particularly given the severe housing supply shortfalls currently being experienced.