top of page

Cascade (Paragraph 80 House)

The applicant approached AW+A Architects with a view to developing a bespoke, environmentally responsive home, set in land adjacent to his current home in open countryside on the outskirts of Bolton.

Paragraph 80 of National Planning Policy states the following:


Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:


a) there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;

b) the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;

c) the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance it immediate setting;

d) the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential dwelling; or

e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it: - is truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and - would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.


The site borders Wayoh reservoir and benefits from views of the valley beyond. Through lengthy discussions and brief analysis with the applicant, a design was generated which looked to meet all of the clients aspirations for a future family home as well as trying to overcome the strict planning constraints on such a site. The applicant has aspirations to create a one-off piece of architecture that responds to the setting, the local ecology and provides a low carbon and sustainable piece of architecture. The key points of the client brief are noted below:


• Sustainable design solutions which are innovative and practical

• Innovative and sustainable materials

• Flagship building of outstanding design and quality

• Minimise running costs

• Maximise views and visibility into the woodland and the open water beyond

• A flexible and contemporary family home

• All rooms to have a view

• As much natural light as possible

• Open plan kitchen, dining and living areas

• Defined sleeping areas

• Double garage The client had an open mind in terms of the design, as long as it was innovative and met the requirements of the brief. The design was developed with this in mind, and we looked to push the brief as far as possible to exceed the clients expectations.

paragraph 80 house
paragraph 80 house

Ground Floor Plan

paragraph 8 house

First Floor Plan

rural house

Roof Plan

The response


In summary to the paragraph 79 criteria: -is truly outstanding or innovative, reflecting the highest standards in architecture The proposals look to expand the possibilities of architecture in the rural setting, combining modernist architectural design with the sensitive use of landscaping, ecology and innovation.


The modernist approach to the exposed façades, follows timeless architectural principles and combines it with a seamless integration into the rural setting. Simple forms, well considered building strategies and the integration of innovative systems make this a truly innovative piece of rural architecture which will set the standard for modern housing in Lancashire.


The structural solutions, proposed materials, insulation, passive measures, green roof amongst other interventions make this a truly innovative dwelling. Outstanding architecture is not just about the way a building looks. Each design decision should have reasoning and purpose and not be for the sake of it. Each element of this design is based on the innovative strategies adopted, the sites context and very importantly the clients aspirations. When all of these elements work together, you have a truly outstanding piece of architecture.


The proposal aims to help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. Very few homes in the north west and UK generally explore the full potential of the technological advances, materials and practical architectural solutions available. Indeed, most houses in rural Lancashire replicate the norm. The countryside and village centres are awash with new build infill development which generally follow the trend of architectural replication, barely meeting the building regulation standards. It is understood that rural character needs to be maintained but in order for housing design to advance and meet worldwide carbon reduction targets, innovative and experimental architecture has to be given a place.


We believe that these proposals will deliver an exemplar home both in terms of innovation and outstanding architecture. The design principles and adopted strategies demonstrate what can be achieved when every aspect of a design is considered.


Field meadows and woodland fringes are indeed precious to the countryside, not only breaking the openness of the surrounding farmland but also providing valuable wildlife habitats. The new dwelling will sit in a field on the fringe of surrounding woodland. Once established, the landscaped banks which form its southern and western elevations, will grow to become part of the natural setting enhancing biodiversity and increasing the diversity of wildlife. Existing woodland fringes will be further enhanced with wild flower meadows, new natural habitats and wildlife ponds. The site will be enhanced both visually and ecologically, with the new home at its core. -be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area The use of dry-stone walls for the lower storey provide a solid base and visual connection to typical boundary treatments to fields throughout the countryside. The vertical timber panelling and slot windows that float above these walls provide a further visual connection to the solid and void of the woodland trees along the site edge. The reflective qualities of the glass further mimic the reflection of the still water visible between the trees beyond.

rural house
bottom of page