In exceptional circumstances, planning permission may be granted for houses in the open countryside under clause 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework, formerly known as PPS7 Houses.
The criteria to meet these standards are very onerous. Clause 55 states that a new dwelling in the countryside will only be allowed under special circumstances, namely where the design is of exceptional quality or innovative, thereby helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; reflect the highest standards in architecture; significantly enhance its immediate setting; and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
We have just obtained planning consent after appeal for a house near Lavenham under this clause. It is one of the first houses in England to be granted approval under clause 55.