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Outline Plan of 5 Autonomous Houses
Project for the development of 1.5 ha at TR18 5DD for 5 free-to-heat houses for rent.

The land, which formed part of Chywoone Farm, was purchased by architects Gordon MacLaren and Alexandra Freemantle in 2012 for £200,000 and comprised a field of 1 ha. used for grazing horses alongside a dilapidated model farmyard c. 1910 used to stable them.  At that time there was permission to rebuild the farmyard as a 4 bedroom house.  It was rebuilt under a revised permission using the existing granite walls with their local subsoil ‘rab’ mortar with only a few new openings and new ‘scantle’ slated roofs over insulated internal walls etc. The works provided a 3 bedroom ‘Cow’ Shed and 2 bedroom ‘Bull’ shed and, more recently, a single room ‘Pig’ Shed formed from 3 conjoined pigsties under Permitted Development.  There is also an original ‘Muck’ shed with a new glazed roof that is used as a conservatory.  There is a substantial water cistern beneath the Muck Shed that may be developed to store water in the summer and as a heat source for a heat pump in the winter.

The 1.5 ha. Site is not in a conservation area, nor in an area of landscape value as defined by Cornwall Council’s local plan and not in an AONB.  The 1 ha. field to the West was planted with over 1000 native trees in 2014 with financial assistance from the Woodland Trust.  The species are alder, birch, blackthorn, sweet chestnut, elder, hawthorn, holly, hornbeam, oak and rowan. The new woodland is now beginning to mature and the soil is much improved.  No herbicides or pesticides have been used on the woodland and the local worm, badger, rabbit, fox and mole populations are thriving.  Swallows still nest in the Cow Shed. The existing Cornish hedges to the South, West and North have been maintained to provide better screening of the site from adjacent fields, roads and dwellings.  The Eastern boundary is similarly screened by an existing high and dense Blackthorn hedge. 

Development of 27 houses on another field on Chywoone Farm was granted on appeal in 2023 and, bearing in mind the chronic shortage of housing in Cornwall alongside the successful rental of the Cow and Bull Sheds, the current owner, the Alexandra Freemantle Trust, is considering applying for permission to build up to 5 low-energy, quasi-autonomous houses for domestic, not holiday, rentals. 

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