Planning, design and construction services for developers, self-builders and homeowners

Rectory Farm

Rectory Farm lies near the top of a chalk ridge. It enjoys commanding views but can be brutalized by winter winds. The ancient local settlement pattern has resulted in villages and farmyards strung along the ridge overlooking farmland below. The farm buildings were laid out to form a wall to the winter winds creating a protected farmyard behind. The site was redeveloped when these buildings
became redundant.













The Old Farmyard The Previous Plan Figura's Plan
The site was acquired with a plan to demolish all but 5 of the existing 23 farm buildings and to construct an access road serving 5 new houses. This plan would have emphasized the separation of the development from the village and exposed the site to the vicious Northwest winds. It represents the standard approach to development, but would have destroyed the built memory of centuries of human habitation. It would not have maximized the site’s potential.    

Figura’s plan preserved 17 of the 23 existing buildings. Where possible, the line of protective barns was maintained. Access was provided by a series of individual and shared private gravel drives. The better quality barns were converted into living accommodation, the rest used for outbuildings. New buildings were added to divide the linear farmyard into a series of domestic scale courtyards in keeping with the established tradition.

Permission was granted for the plan with local support in spite of a 40% increase in density. The result is a continuum of public, semi-private and private spaces which feels as if it has been there for years. The 4 points of access integrate this into the fabric of the village. Rectory Farm is now quite different from the normal modern development. It feels part of the village rather than a separate estate on a cul-de-sac.

It offers glimpses of other peoples worlds and the occasional public view through to the farmland beyond, making the development as a whole more interesting. It has been popular with clients and all properties sold before they were completed. Resale turnover has been quick where it has occurred and Figura’s plan cost less to build than the standard approach.