Paragraph 139: The New Rural Planning Policy?

Paragraph 139: The New Rural Planning Policy?

What is Paragraph 139?

Paragraph 139 (previously Paragraph 134) has a growing role to play in supporting new sustainable homes within the countryside. As architects with specialist experience in rural architecture, we are looking into how this piece of policy can tip the planning balance in your favour to help gain planning permission on your dream home.

Studio Bark has built up a reputation over the past decade as experts in Paragraph 84 (previously 55, 79 and 80), the country house exemption clause. Over the years we have seen many shifts in the policy landscape, with regard to innovation, isolation, and environmental design. These shifts have meant many sites are no longer being considered under Paragraph 84 and are left in a ‘no man’s land’ policy-wise.

As a practice, we have sought to address this policy gap, asking ourselves the question: how can we find more routes to planning for clients who share our passion for sustainable, sensitive architecture? This is where we turned to Paragraph 139 - the new rural planning policy.

Water House - a paragraph 80 family home in the countryside by Studio Bark
Water House // Studio Bark

Our Study

Paragraph 84

In 2018, Studio Bark began an analysis of countrywide Paragraph 84 applications (previously Paragraph 80). This has culminated into the most comprehensive publicly available online database on the policy, which is used as an invaluable resource for clients, architects and planners alike.

Find out more about Studio Bark’s insights into Paragraph 84.

Paragraph 139

Building on our rural policy expertise, we have now begun the same process with Paragraph 139 applications (previously Paragraph 134), and have contacted all of England’s Local Planning Authorities to ask for any previous applications relevant to the policy. At this stage, our own research on planning and appeal decisions has helped us to understand the use of Paragraph 139, and has informed the points explored in the report.

Download Our Free Tool

A self-built, single storey timber eco-house at dusk
Image by Andy Billman

Download our Paragraph 139 Tool, where you'll find our working collection of relevant past cases, which we've used to create a set of Paragraph 139 policy tests.

This Rural Policy Site Tool is designed to help you understand which policy to use on different sites.

Download the tool

Build your home with Paragraph 139

Paragraph 139 provides the ideal conditions for an ambitiously sustainable, sensitive, and contextual home, in pride of place where it will be seen and celebrated.

We have undertaken this research to gain expertise in how this specific piece of national policy can be used to help you realise your self-build ambitions alongside local policies.

Through this research we have found patterns that help guide the best planning route. As there are nuances to every site, we consider each project on a case-by-case basis, informed by our in-depth expertise. We also consult with the local planning authority to gain clarity at an early stage, helping to reduce overall risk, to give you the best chance of achieving planning success.

Explore our past projects here.

If you’re interested in building a Paragraph 84 or Paragraph 139 home, please get in touch with the studio:

020 7993 4332

Contact Us
Couple sitting on timber veranda outdoors at Nest House by Studio Bark
Image by Andy Billman

Our Work