Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects have secured planning consent for twelve new homes at Bishop’s Orchard in the village of Farnham Royal, for London & Quadrant. The twelve new three bedroom homes (five for affordable rent and seven for private sale) replace Verdon Court – a 27 room sheltered housing scheme which had become vacant after the withdrawal of local authority funding for the live-in warden. The former care home was formed of small one bedroom and studio units divided by loadbearing walls, which made conversion to larger family homes unviable and impractical.

Arranged around a courtyard and taking visual cues from the surrounding contemporary buildings as well as the agricultural past, the design of the new homes has been inspired by the historic use of the site (and the village itself, which is named after an ‘enclosure where ferns grow’).

Twelve homes are set within a wall and hedge, with each boundary responding to and enhancing the context of the adjoining space which includes the village green to the west and a large recreation ground to the east.

The shared-surface courtyard helps to create a sense of ownership and belonging on the site within an attractive landscape that is not dominated by the car – although each house benefits from two car parking spaces.Expressed in a clean, crisp and contemporary way, the new homes are built from materials that draw on the existing local context and the agricultural setting, with brickwork on the ground floor and tile hung cladding above. Timber structures for the car ports will be finished with decorative angle braces.The scheme received planning approval from South Buckinghamshire District Council in late October 2019.

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