Modern Eco-House


Set on the outskirts of Alton, a two-generation family owns a bungalow built by the property owner's parents in the 1950s.


The existing house sits within a large plot, surrounded by beautiful Staffordshire countryside. However, the bungalow is dated, has poor thermal efficiency and is unsuited for the client's needs. 

The plan was to demolish the existing property and erect a much more sustainable replacement dwelling that two family generations would occupy. 

The major challenge would be gaining planning permission for a larger and more contemporary scheme, using a modern palette of materials, within a sensitive rural setting on the edge of the Alton conservation area.


From the outset, we developed a strategy aimed at optimising the success of the application by first establishing a fallback position via permitted development rights, including an upward extension. 

We then successfully argued that the proposed replacement dwelling would give rise to no greater harm to the character and appearance of the area than the approved fallback position. 

The new dwelling is also to be built to the PassivHaus standard, and those benefits also weighed in favour of the development. 

Another challenge was using a more modern palette of materials, such as timber and zinc cladding. But with the client's assistance, we successfully argued that these materials contain much less embodied carbon than the equivalent "traditional" materials, such as brick and tile. 

A shift in the current requirement for "vernacular" materials was required in order to fulfil the Council's green agenda.

In the end, a compromise was agreed upon with the planning officer, and the scheme was approved at the committee. A revised scheme, one more in line with the original design, has since been submitted to the local authority and is awaiting a decision.

We look forward to continuing to work alongside the clients throughout this unique eco-house design's technical design and construction.

Rob Duncan, Planning Consultant

Project Details


Alton, Staffordshire



Services Provided

Planning permission, planning statements & planning appeals

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