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Gloucestershire Business News

Subterranean home with gym, bar and glass lift given go ahead

Architects responsible for one of Gloucestershire's most incredible homes - the £30 million Swinhay House - have won planning permission for two more ambitious developments.

The modest practice from the Five Valleys saw the spotlight of publicity flash across its bows when the aforementioned home it helped design near Stroud was featured on BBC television's drama series Sherlock.

Owned by one of the founding fathers of county engineering giant Renishaw, Sir David McMurtry's home blends into the landscape from the back, but catches the eye with its glass front and underground facilities.

Now the able team at Austin Design Works has been working its magic again - on a similarly ambitious house on a 4.3 hectare greenbelt site, and an innovative oak-clad garden room in the grounds of a listed 16th Century house.

Both of which have now won planning permission. The former also including the planting of 3,000 trees.

ADW directors Rachael and Matt Austin spent more than 12 months working on the proposal for the house after a previous application submitted by another practice was refused.

"We're absolutely delighted to have been able to secure permission for this rather exceptional replacement dwelling which will undoubtedly be an improvement to the area," said Mr Austin.

"We have specialised in projects like this for over 20 years and we're thrilled for the client that they'll finally be able to build a home for generations to come."

The innovative property, which will sit in 4.3ha of carefully-constructed formal gardens, meadows and parkland, will be a home for current and future generations.


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It features subterranean car parking, a swimming pool, gym and bar, stunning entrance hall with glass lift and what are described as "arresting countryside views".

And on a very different scale, but also challenging from both a design and planning perspective, is a garden pavilion in the grounds of an historic riverside rectory.

"Initially, the client asked us to create a garden room," said Rachael, a chartered landscape architect and member of the Society for Garden Designers.

"But the more we looked at it, the more it made sense to create a standalone building in the garden, to make the most of the river frontage and encourage people to really use the whole of the garden."

The scheme, which includes a seating area on decking surrounding an ancient tree, petanque and croquet lawns, a fire pit and several seating areas.

It will feature a living roof, solar panels, and see the renovation of an old brick terrace along with the construction of a timber-framed pergola and a revamped stone wall enclosing a barbecue area "with far-reaching views across the river".

The oak shingle-clad garden room will also boast a garden kitchen opening onto a south-facing terrace.

The half-subterranean house, called The Farthings, is at Belbroughton, near Stourbridge, and the pavilion at Great Somerford, Wiltshire.

Read more: Cheltenham restaurant's shock closure 

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