New Build Home Planning, Mid Kent

Client Brief

This client had obtained consent for a dramatic new build to replace an existing bungalow and some dilapidated agricultural buildings. The approved scheme was overly complex, unrealistic from a budget point of view and did not give the client everything they wanted.
Whilst the planned rear elevation was dramatic, the front elevation featuring rooflights did not have the same impact.

The client wanted 469m2 of floor space including:

  • An exciting proposal
  • A detached two storey 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home with a curved design
  • Detached garage
  • A more realistic approach to costs
  • Design changes
  • An attached indoor 3.5m x 12m swimming pool, accessible from the main house

Planning Ideas

Balancing design and budget
We revised the plans by keeping the curved form of the building, but suggested working with traditional materials. This would negate the need for bespoke underlay sections and a particularly complex steel structure. Much thought was given to the front elevation and how the house was approached from the road. We revised the initial concepts into a clear proposal which was approved by the planners. It focussed on improving the front elevation by lifting the eaves line so that rather than rooflights, the windows were in the wall. This concept was refined as the project went on. Some additional information on materials and detailing was provided to the local authority to demonstrate the high-quality intentions of the design. 

Blending into the surroundings
Using natural materials was important for grounding the proposal into the landscape. The client was very keen to use field flint which is a traditional form of construction in this part of Kent and welcomed by planners too. This was blended with slate roofing and timber cladding. Experience with the use of traditional materials helped inform the makeup of the walls – the use of natural slate on the roof would require both a minimum pitch angle and a consistent overall rafter length to maintain the same number of rows on the roof. This helped to provide satisfactory limits to the curves of the roof. 

The site was a blank canvas with land stretching in all directions. We maximised this unique setting by making the most of light and views in key spaces within the house. For example, all the main rooms look out onto the rear southeast facing garden area with large areas of glazing, and doors from the open plan living area opening out onto the patio.

Space v Cost
Once the indoor swimming pool was taken into account, the client wanted to increase floor space whilst providing a lower overall per-square-metre cost. The cost reductions were achieved by maintaining an exciting form to the house but also keeping the design within the limits of traditional materials and building techniques.


It’s always challenging to have to tell a client that their plans are not feasible financially, or design-wise. However, our vast experience allows us to come up with creative solutions in terms of cost, design and materials to help our clients to build a home they don’t feel has compromised their dream or expectations. Our knowledge of local planning coupled with our highly skilled team meant we were able to amend the client’s plans without compromising on their vision – but also delivering to a feasible budget.

What the client said…

“It was a shock to find out that the plans which had gone through and been accepted by the local authority were virtually ‘unbuildable’ and would cost way over budget. Contacting Vernacular was the best thing we did; they were very happy to meet on site or wherever was convenient and listened, which is so important!

“They took time for discussions and letting us think about what would work for our lifestyle, were sensitive to what was not wanted and gave great advice. We ended up with a design we are really happy with and I am confident the build will go ahead in the same way.”

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