Bulls Green

This Paragraph 79 live / work studio won Planning approval on its ‘exceptional design’ merit and was developed in conjunction with our client, an architect himself who came to us because of our Paragraph 79 knowledge.

Our client wished to create a compact dwelling in which they could live and work in a private woodland location in South Norfolk. The rationale behind the project was to create a highly sustainable dwelling that would blend into the woodland eco system, recovering and re-establishing the decayed and polluted woodland.

The site had residual debris and pollution from previous occupation which included discarded tyres, broken machinery, old caravans, sheds and so forth. In addition to this the wood, which had been left to decay over the past centuries and was no longer managed or maintained, was in a parlous state.

On examining earlier maps of the area, it was clear that parts of the woodland were actually ancient. Development on ancient woodland is not allowed under Planning rules but in this instance we were able to make the case for the reinstatement of the woodland and the general improvement of the site. The project incorporates a landscape management plan that copices the Ash, removes invasive non-native species and plants indigenous species. In so doing, the site will be enhanced and returned to its original diversity of flora and fauna and the creation of a dwelling in this setting allows the woodland to be monitored and maintained.

Part of the client’s brief was that the building should be designed in such a way that it could be constructed by unskilled labour or indeed amateur self-build. The scheme groups the accommodation around a covered internal courtyard, with low intersecting finger-like forms extending into the woodland. The innovative cladding design uses recycled timber in a staggered formation to allow birds and insects to nest within it, contributing to the biodiversity through its creation as an insect habitat.

The dwelling features sustainable construction throughout. The tyre dump was re-used to create a base for the driveway and a natural pond was established. The small building is carefully positioned within an existing clearing of the woodland which minimises the impact on the immediate surroundings. Off-site construction minimises construction time on site and lowers the construction cost, so keeping the building as an affordable solution. Recycling timber components from the derelict buildings on site is a sustainable model which, coupled with the reinstatement of this woodland, means that this small development sits quietly and lightly in its setting. Our practice’s detailed knowledge and understanding of sustainability enabled our client’s vision to be achieved in a truly innovative and sustainable way. The scheme was developed with close input and co-operation from Landscape specialist and Arboriculturist Chris Yardley, Planning Consultant La Ronde Wright and Contaminated Land Environmental Assessment by J.P.Chick.

This outstanding project is due to be constructed towards the end of 2020.

Property Name

Bulls Green


South Norfolk

Planning District

South Norfolk District Council




Planning Approved. Awaiting construction.



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