New Build Planning, West Kent

Client Brief

This client first contacted us after being granted planning consent to remodel and extend their home. We met with them and discussed how they had arrived at the final design, the extent of the building works, and about the costs they had received from other design and building contractors.

It soon became clear that if the proposed works were carried out, very little of the original house would be left, and the VAT relating to this building work would be significant: in the region of £100k. We explained that demolishing rather than renovating and extending the existing property, and building a replacement new home from scratch,  would have certain clear cost and design advantages. New build properties are zero rated for VAT so a complete rebuild represented a huge saving on the bill that would have been applied to their project had they gone ahead with the original plan to renovate. The new structure would also be built to current, and therefore very high standards, and not having to work around any elements of the existing property gave greater freedom when it came to design.

Leaving the original plans behind, we instead worked with them to develop designs to rebuild their home. Their design brief included:

  • A detached property
  • 5 bedrooms
  • High-spec finish
  • Light, open plan spaces

Following the successful planning application, Vernacular Homes provided the detailed design, demolished the existing sub-standard property and built the new property in accordance with the approved scheme.

A couple of years after this build was completed, our clients asked us to explore the possibility of building an additional property within their rear garden.  Their design brief was to include:

  • A detached dwelling
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 1 ensuite
  • Family bathroom

Happily, this second project gained planning approval and was then built by Vernacular Homes.

Planning ideas

New build – the first project
The principle of replacement dwellings is well-established and the original proposal for the first project sought to make more effective use of the site, suggesting the rebuilding of the existing home over the previously consented extension renovation project. The local authority was generally constructive and identified a number of minor areas to address within our proposals. 

The second project
The size of the new house to be built at the bottom of the garden required careful management to maximise floor space but keep the house in proportion to the plot size. The concealed flat roof which helped keep the overall height of the roof down, coupled with the roughly square floor plan enabled as much space to be squeezed in as possible whilst at the same time, providing good room sizes.

Both houses have very efficient floor plans, so that every square metre created really counts.


The first application for a replacement dwelling was fairly straightforward, but the second for a new build house was more complex. Local objection to developments being built in back gardens along the road meant the proposal was called to the planning committee. We spoke in support of the application at the committee meeting, outlining a number of key points including that this property had one of the largest gardens in the area sufficient to comfortably accommodate an additional property, it would be unobtrusively positioned, and located sustainably where services are accessible, as is encouraged by local planning policy. The councillors agreed that the proposals complied with planning policy and voted in favour of approval. 

What our client said…

“Since successful completion of our first build, Vernacular has continued to offer support, quickly addressing any minor issues and ensuring we are happy with our home. The experience was so positive that we decided to build a second house with Vernacular.

“The second project was equally satisfying, with the same level of dedication and quality. The team managed to deliver another beautiful home – again on budget and ahead of schedule.

We would not hesitate to recommend Vernacular to anyone considering a self-build project.”

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