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A stone’s throw

Val and Rory McGouran’s ideal plot was right under their noses, as their garden offered them the opportunity to build a new contemporary home
PHOTOS JOE LENTON

Val and Rory McGouran spent over three decades bringing up their family in a large Victorian house, but with all their children having flown the nest it was time for a change. “Our home was too big for the two of us”, says Val. “We only used a few rooms, not going in others for months on end, and it cost a fortune to heat. Having lived in the village for over 34 years we were keen to stay local, so investigated our options.”

The retired couple set about looking for a new property in the area, but struggled to find anything suitable. Taking inspiration from self builder friends, they began looking for that ever-elusive perfect plot. But after some months of searching, they drew a blank.

Their current house was set in substantial grounds, so Val and Rory decided to look into the possibility of building at the bottom of their garden. Well aware that the planning process may not be plain sailing due to the property’s position in a conservation area, Val and Rory sought advice from an ex-planning officer.They were told that the building envelope of the village was soon going to be reduced considerably, meaning the patch at the bottom of the garden would be moving outside the boundary.This risked their chances of getting permission, so they had to move fast.

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About Build It

Build It magazine's new September 2018 issue is packed full of ideas and practical advice to help you successfully create your dream home. Here's our pick of some of the top features this issue: - Top tips to save you £10,000s on your home building project - How to get real value for money from your builder - Are SIPs sustainable? - Design ideas for a better, healthier home - Make your home water efficient - Choosing the right windows for a heritage property ... and more!