Nikjoo wins approval for barn-like farmhouse in Oxfordshire

Set within an existing working farm around 5 miles north of Oxford, the new 163m² home will replace a dilapidated agricultural shed. The building’s existing concrete blockwork will be reused as aggregate in the new home.

The practice describes the new ‘low-set’ building in the Thames Valley green belt as a ‘contemporary vernacular extension’ of the nearby historic Beckley village.

As well as the timber frame, the house will be constructed with a natural slate roof and locally sourced limestone walls that incorporate honed stone blocks on their long façades to give the building a ‘subtly modern appearance’.

The studio said the use of locally sourced materials, combined with renewable energy sources, would mean a reduction of predicted carbon emissions to be 57 per cent better than Part L1 2021.

The project is set to go out to tender in September.

Retention v replacement: practice founder Alex Nikjoo explains

We initially considered re-using the existing sheds on the site as part of the scheme. Through the initial concept design, it was decided quite early on that it would be unfeasible to reuse them as part of a good-quality family home in their current layout and dilapidated state. Instead, as part of the sustainability strategy, the existing concrete block buildings will be recycled as aggregate for the building and as flooring for a nearby hay barn.

As part of the planning strategy an initial permitted development application was submitted to re-use the agricultural buildings to create two separate dwellings. These dwellings would meet planning spatial and design standards, although in reality they would be considerably substandard homes.

Following this, the proposal for a single new-build home on the green belt had a very strong planning argument against the extant permission for two dwellings on the site. This is a peculiarity of the current planning system whereby an application for the new dwelling was not as likely to be granted without the systematic process of making several ‘softer’ applications ahead of the proposal you actually plan to build. The result of this are higher costs for clients and increased workload for planners.

Project data

Location Beckley, Oxfordshire, UK
Local authority South Oxfordshire District Council
Type of project New-build housing
Client Private
Architect Nikjoo
Planning consultant AMS
Energy consultant Award Energy Consultant
Quantity surveyor Not applicable
Principal designer Nikjoo
Lighting consultant Nikjoo
Main contractor TBC
Funding Private
Tender date September 2023
Start on site TBC
Gross internal floor area 163m²
Form of contract TBC
Annual CO2 emissions 8.56 kgCO2/m² (estimated), 57 per cent reduction in emissions over Part L 2021 regulations
Total cost Undisclosed

Nikjoo’s proposal for a new family home at Ten Acre Farm Beckley, Oxfordshire – site sketch