Hux Shard and Paragraph 55 / Paragraph 79

The proposed planning application for Hux Shard has been made under part four of Paragraph 55 / Paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).


From the outset the design team has sought engagement with the Local Authority and Design Review Panel (DRP) throughout the design process. Presenting scheme iterations on three occasions from early concept through to the final design.

So what is Paragraph 55, Para 55 or Paragraph 79?

You’ve heard this before or possibly thought it yourself :

I want to build my dream home in the countryside.

Easy? The short answer is not really. However it is achievable with careful project planning and expert professionals working within the National Planning Policy Framework. Your dream can become a reality but it can be a long drawn out process which requires faith, patience, innovation, creativity and above all tenacity. Of equal importance is that you must adhere to the guidelines published in Para 55 and challenge your creative team to think further than the basic guidelines. It goes without saying that you must also adhere to all building and planning regulations.

In brief, ‘Paragraph 55’ or ‘Para 55’ is a description of special circumstances set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. Under certain circumstances it allows new homes to be built in the countryside. Dwellings can be built in the countryside where they are of exceptional quality or innovative nature of design. Is this enough? In short, no.

So far it sounds as if building a new home in your dream location is beyond reach.

What is Paragraph 79?

Well, the NPPF updated the planning framework in July 2018 to Para 79 – interestingly, the content of Para 55 remains intact in Paragraph 79.


Let’s look at Paragraph 55 / Paragraph 79…

To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:

  • the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside
  • where such development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets
  • where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting
  • the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling

Such a design should:

  • be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas
  • reflect the highest standards in architecture
  • significantly enhance its immediate setting
  • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area

From PPS7, paragraph 11 (2004):

Very occasionally, the exceptional quality and innovative nature of the design of a proposed, isolated new house may provide this special justification for granting planning permission. Such a design should be truly outstanding and ground-breaking, for example, in its use of materials, methods of construction or its contribution to protecting and enhancing the environment, so helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. The value of such a building will be found in its reflection of the highest standards in contemporary architecture, the significant enhancement of its immediate setting and its sensitivity to the defining characteristics of the local area.


The reality is that ground breaking rural dwellings can be built under Paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework.


You will need expert help and advice and the Hux Shard project is no exception to this fact. The design team thought long and hard about how the building, its surrounding grounds and its overall ecological impact on the landscape would be truly beneficial to the locality. It is also important to note that the building will generate more energy than it consumes.

To find out more about building a rural home in the countryside and Dartmoor National Park please contact: