House Network Ltd are thrilled to present this unique opportunity for the demolition and relocation of a large dwelling in the attractive village of Harrold. The existing property comprises almost 3,400 square feet of accommodation (315 sq m) and remains in perfectly habitable condition having been vacated by the current owners in October 2017. The existing house dates back to the 1970's and is built on 'stilts' (brick and concrete plinths) due to its very close proximity to the River Great Ouse (6 metres at its closest point). This has led to the house being flooded once in the past and the onset of subsidence (which poses no short term threat to the building's structure).
The obvious solution is to rebuild the house in its present location, with higher internal floor levels. However, this is no longer possible under under modern legislation. Whilst there is a presumption the exisitng house can be repaired, the Environment Agency will not allow sufficient improvements for access and egress in times of high river levels to satisfy modern builidng regulations.
Following an exhaustive planning process, reviewing all possibilities for development, permission has been obtained to build a new house located more centrally on the plot. The new house will benefit from a second story affording excellent views over the river and the surrounding countryside. Moreover, the new house will be beyond the reach of foreseeable flooding and outside the 'Functional Floodplain' (as defined by the Environment Agency). The full planning application and history can be found on the Bedford Borough Council website under 'planning' using the reference 16/02273/ful. The planning consent is valid for work commencing up to May 22 2020. For specific information concerning the planning process, please contact the email address provided below.
A commonly asked question is whether there might be scope for building the new house and retaining the old. The answer is an unequicocal 'no'. The Environment Agency has only agreed to the new house being built as a 'quid pro quo' for demolishing the old building, which they consider to impede the flow of water in the 'Functional Floodplain' when the river rises above its banks. It is a reality of modern planning policy that Environment Agency objections and conditions are effectively insurmountable, even on appeal. Indeed, without an old house to demolish, the ea would not have approved a new development so close to the river. As such, this is very much a 'one off' opportunity to build a substantial new house close to a major river.
The property's location is very special (try searching MK43 7DS in Google Earth). It sits 'outside the Harrold Development Area' - in other words within what was once called 'greenbelt'. Permission to relocate properties within such areas is rare and depends on 'extraordinary planning permission', which is only granted in unusual circumstances and which is a key part of the existing planning consent. To the West, the property is bounded by the Carlton Road, which crosses an exceptionally fine multi-span medieval bridge across the Great Ouse to the neighbouring (and equally pretty) village of Carlton. The bridge is a listed monument and prominently visible across the garden. To the East there is the Harrold and Odell Country Park centred on two lakes providing sanctuary for wildfowl and a very pleasant 'offroad' walk to the picturesque village of Odell. To the South, there is approximately 110 metres of river frontage, where the Great Ouse breaks over the shallow weir upon which the ancient bridge stands. Across the River there are views of open countryside towards the villages of Carlton and Chellington.
It is envisaged that the new house will be largely invisible from Harrold village (and vice versa). Although only walking distance from Harrold and Carlton (which both have shops, post offices and pubs/restaurants), the location is quiet and peaceful (though in earshot of the church bells). The fields in the Country Park and across the river are used for cattle grazing and there is access directly into the park, which is ideal for dog-walking. A variety of wildlife visits or inhabits the garden and Swans, Water Voles, Herons and Kingfishers can be seen along Riverbank's wter frontage.
The existing Full Planning Permission is for a modern and spacious house exploiting its location to the maximum. Its design is loosely based on a traditional farmhouse style, with the main accommodation flanked by outbuildings around a central 'farmyard' type hard-standing area. The existing access from Carlton Road will provide a discreet entrance to an imposing driveway leading straight into the courtyard of a striking building in beautiful surroundings. The details of the external materials to be used in the building's construction are still subject to finalisation with Bedford Borough Council (as a planning condition), but it is expected that these choices will allow considerable latitude in determining whether this new home will be contemporary or traditional in character. The substantial master bedroom suite is planned to open onto a south facing balcony with commanding views towards Chellington and the river Great Ouse. The bridge and surrounding countryside will be visible across extensive lawns sweeping down to the river's banks..
An intrinsic part of the planning process was securing Environment Agency approval for the necessary landscaping that will surround the new house. From a flood defence perspective it is essential not only that the new house itself will be safe from future flooding, but that its presence will not increase the risk of flooding to adjacent properties and the surrounding area. This will be achieved by raising the finished floor level in the house approximately one metre above the existing contours. Allowing for the internal floor level being up to 30cm above outside ground level the land immedialely adjacent to the house (driveway, garage, patios etc.) will need to be raised by around 70cm. This will be done by moving soil and gravel form locations closer to the river up to the new house's level in order to aid the flow of water when the river is swollen by rainfall. The existing house already has surrounding landscaping (e.G. A raised driveway) and the Environment Agency is keen to see this removed. In practical terms, the task will not be difficult or costly; but aesthetically it will greatly enhance the new house's riverside aspect facilitating a far better view of the river and bridge and enabling better access to the river's banks.
The house's architect is Rob Farr at Lines and Squares. The company describes itself as follows: 'Lines and Squares is an approachable and vibrant young architectural practice operating across Bedfordshire, North Herts and London. We take a fresh and flexible approach to practice, adapting our service and role to suit the differing needs and requirements of each individual project. We apply our experience as well as deep creative thought to all of our work and focus on providing simple elegant pragmatic solutions. We work with our clients in a spirit of collaboration to create unique designs based on their ambitions and requirements. We care about our clients money and time, and work within these parameters to find the most appropriate and effective proposals for every context'. Rob has detailed knowledge of the planning consent and would be an ideal choice to take the project forwards. He can be contacted on .
The existing house at Riverbank is spacious and comfortable, and would certainly be extremely viable accommodation during the construction of the new property. Whilst it shows signs of subsidence, this process is longstanding and does not affect the building in any safety critical manner. It also has a large double/treble garage, which would be useful as storage space during a building project. The existing house and garage must be demolished as a condition of the planning consent in order that the finished project yields a net benefit to river flow and floodplain capacity during periods of heavy rainfall. (Water has entered the house once in its history and that was the result of flash flooding in 1998).
The present house is raised above ground level on brick and concrete plinths bedded on underground footings. It has a spacious lounge/diner with panoramic 'glass walls' givings a 180 degree view of the river and bridge. There is a large kitchen and hall area. Bedroom one opens onto a riverside balcony immediately adjacent to the river and also has full height/full width panoramic glazing. Bedrooms one and two share a family bathroom/shower room with toilet and bidet. Bedrooms three and four are both double with their own en-suite shower rooms. There is a large utility room with a ramp to ground level and immediate access to the Country Park.
Harrold is 10 miles (20 min) from Bedford town centre, 18 miles (30 Minutes) from Northampton, 15 miles (25 minutes) from Milton Keynes and 11 miles (20 minutes) from Wellingborough; all towns with mainline railways stations. The village is also within easy reach of the A6, A428 and M1 Motorway.
Local schools include:
Harrold Lower School (0.1 miles)
Carlton vc Lower School (0.8 miles)
Turvey Lower School (2.6 miles)
Sharnbrook Academy (2.8 miles)
Hinwick Hall College (3.5 miles)
St Thomas More Catholic School (7.0 miles)
Harrold Priory Middle School (0.1 miles)
Wollaston School (4.3 miles)
Lincroft Middle School (4.5 miles)
Prominent public schools in the area include: Bedford School, Wellingborough School, Oundle, Rugby and numerous independents.
Harrold has its own cricket and tennis clubs, which compete with clubs in the surrounding villages. Weekend cricket takes place on the village playing fields, a couple of hundred yards from Riverbank. There is also a soccer club, Harrold and Carlton fc, and six miles away in Olney a Rugby Football Club with dedicated premises. Bedford has the usual municipal and commercial sports facilities one would expect in a large town and there are numerous health clubs and spas near the village. Golf can be enjoyed at a variety of local clubs, including Bedford and County, Bedford Golf Club, Bedfordshire Golf Club, Collingtree Park and Woburn. Surrounded, as Harrold is, by other affluent rural communities there are also many equestrian establishments, providing riding/tuition and livery.
Heathrow airport is 65 miles away (1hr 15 min) and Luton Airport 35 miles (55 min). Birmingham International and Stansted are only a little further. The City of London is 65 miles by road and highly commutable by car or by train..
Please review the details provided and contact House Network Ltd for more information. Should you have specific questions, especially regarding the detail of the property's planning history, the vendors can be contacted directly via
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Storage cupboard, Boiler cupboard, Airing cupboard with skylight, two double doors
Two piece suite wash hand basin and low-level WC, tiled splashback, tiled flooring.
Two Storage cupboards, Airing cupboard, tiled flooring with skylight, three double doors, double glazed french rear double door
lounge/diner 37'1 x 19'1 (11.30m x 5.81m)
Full height double glazed windows to side, full height double glazed windows to front, feature centre wood burning Stove, fitted carpet, open plan archway
study 7'9 x 11'4 (2.35m x 3.46m)
Full height double glazed window to front.
Kitchen 13'10 x 11'4 (4.22m x 3.46m)
Fitted with a matching range of base and eye level units with worktop space over, stainless steel sink unit with single drainer and mixer tap, fridge/freezer, electric fan assisted double oven, four ring gas hob, extractor hood, full height double glazed window to side, tiled flooring, serving hatch to Lounge with skylight, open plan.
Bedroom 1 19'2 x 14'5 (5.85m x 4.39m)
Full height double glazed window to side, fitted wardrobes, fitted carpet.
Bedroom 2 16'1 x 11'10 (4.90m x 3.60m)
Full height double glazed window to rear, fitted wardrobes, fitted carpet
Five piece suite with panelled bath, pedestal wash hand basin, shower enclosure with power shower, bidet and low-level WC, tiled surround, heated towel rail, tiled flooring.
Bedroom 3 11'0 x 13'4 (3.36m x 4.07m)
Double glazed window to side, double glazed window to front, radiator, fitted carpet, built in Wardrobe.
Four piece suite with panelled bath, pedestal wash hand basin, shower enclosure with power shower and low-level WC, radiator.
Bedroom 4 8'6 x 13'4 (2.60m x 4.06m)
Double glazed window to rear, built in wardrobe.
En-suite shower room
Three piece suite with shower enclosure with power shower, pedestal wash hand basin and low-level WC tiled surround, radiator
utility room 12'10 x 11'6 (3.91m x 3.50m)
Fitted with a matching range of base and eye level units with worktop space over, stainless steel sink with double drainer, radiator with skylight
Beautiful mature trees and lawn areas.
Store room 7'0 x 10'2 (2.14m x 3.09m)
site of new property
Open countryside and River views
Light and power.