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Lucas Hickman Smith have secured planning permission for a new dwelling in the heart of the Conservation Area in Geldeston in South Norfolk. The single-storey house is set into an existing change of level across the site, to preserve views out from The Street towards the staithe on the River Waveney.

The site is part of an area known as The Dell, which was purchased by the Dowson family in the early 1960s to save its collection of cottages and barns, then recently condemned, from demolition. Over the years Sir Philip Dowson, founding partner of Arup Associates, has carried out a series of low-key improvements, alterations and additions to the dozen or so properties on the site, preserving its uniquely intimate character. The new dwelling, Sunnybank Cottage, continues this understated approach.

Sir Philip’s briefing-sketches showed a new house set into the steep bank separating The Street from the general level of the development site, with a pan-tiled, mono-pitched roof dropping down to screen a secluded south-facing patio. The house presents only the upper 1.2m of its retaining wall to The Street, which will be softened along the back of pavement by a natural-species hedge reinstated after construction. The arrangement maintains views out across the roof-scape of the Dell, and will permanently protect the site from less sensitive development in the future.

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