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New Replacement Dwelling in High Weald AONB

Planning permission was granted in June 2020 for this replacement home for a private client in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

The existing single storey bungalow with shallow pitched roof was to be replaced with a new predominantly two storey home. To the rear, the open plan kitchen dining family room areas sit half a level up from the ground floor to take advantage of the natural levels across the site.

Designed to be built using a well-insulated and lightweight timber frame the overhanging roofs to the south and west elevations provide natural passive solar controls. Whole House Mechanical Ventilation coupled with ground source heat pumps ensured that the scheme surpassed the requirements of Building Regulations for energy efficiency. Detailed 3D modelling and assessments of the roof overhangs were carried out with annual sun-hour calculations to the large areas of glazing checked using the geosynchronised 3D model.

The flat roof design ensured that the overall height of the new building was only 0.5m higher than the ridge line of the existing house and the L-shaped plan allowed the frontage of the existing buildings to be reduced from 25m to 17m for the replacement building; all of which ensured that the planners agreed that the proposals would not appear more intrusive in the AONB landscape.

The flat roofs are covered with Badum’s XF301 lightweight sedum roofing blanket to increase biodiversity on the site and compensate for the larger footprint of the new building. External lighting is kept below the roof and first floor overhangs or are cowelled to ensure downlight cast light only as the site sits within a Dark Skies protected area; the use of warm white 3,000k LED lights providing no more than 7.6 lux meets the requirements of the Bat Conservation Trust’s guidance on external lighting.

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