Planning approval for new country house in Warwickshire under NPPF Para 55

Bold, innovative proposal to build classical country house in disused railway embankment successfully secures planning permission

Planning permission for new houses in open countryside is rarely granted, however, on the 28th January, Rugby Borough Council granted permission to build a new Country House near Rugby, Warwickshire. The proposal by ADAM Architecture and landscape architects, Colvin & Moggridge, was accepted under the NPPF paragraph 55 planning legislation that permits the building of new country houses considered to be of ‘exceptional quality or innovative design’. In this case, the remarkable placement of the house in the middle of a disused railway embankment clinched both endorsement by the Midlands design review panel, MADE, and approval by the planning committee.

Robert Adam’s design for the 877 sq m house centres on a substantial symmetrical house in stone and stucco with arched wings that connect it to the embankment. It is possible to walk down the line of the old rail track and enter the house at first floor level, to a raised garden on one side or down into a courtyard garden on the other.


To the north side, the house is framed by a courtyard of stables and garaging with further equestrian buildings screened with new planting.

The appointment of landscape architects at an early stage was critical. In addition to advising on the careful integration of the house into the embankment, Colvin & Moggridge recommended a landscape strategy that would see the currently degraded and denuded holding being returned to an enclosed pastoral landscape that caters for the client’s significant equestrian needs. A substantial commitment to enhance the biodiversity of the site through the creation of new woodland and hedgerows, native wildflower meadows, ponds, ditches and an orchard also met with approval.

Robert Adam, Director at ADAM Architecture commented on the decision, “We are pleased to have had the support of the MADE design panel and the local authority for this extraordinary and unique opportunity. A left-over and forgotten piece of industrial heritage has become part of a wider vision and given new meaning by the addition of a striking house.”

Mark Darwent, Director at Colvin and Moggridge commented, “This innovative placement of the house has maximized the potential of the landscape on a site bisected by the disused railway. The house nestles comfortably in the wooded embankment enjoying fine open views to both north and south, and uniquely from the first floor rooms, a long, linear view east and west along the old railway-line”


View more images of this project