Long Island, Fernhurst, West Sussex

Set on the edge of Fernhurst village in West Sussex, within the South Downs National Park, this quarter of a hectare site originally comprised a single bungalow. The site slopes steeply down to a stream at the rear and the brief was to maximise the use of the site in terms of dwelling size and number.

The site is closely bordered on two sides by mid density estate style housing and on the other two sides by an attractive woodland valley.

The brief was for medium sized family dwellings that could be competitively priced, but at the same time offering a slight edge in terms of the quality and offering to the market.

The solution was for three pairs of semi-detached houses that use the slope to their advantage, providing two storeys at the front and three at the rear, with balconies that are, because of the slope, accessed from first floor living rooms, overlooking the stream and woodland beyond.

The accommodation comprises three bedrooms on the top floor one en-suite and a large family bathroom - kitchen diner, entrance hall, cloakroom and living room on mid floor and a large family garden level room, as a flexible space at lower ground level. In total this creates 130m2 of floor space for each dwelling.

The added potential, as a result of designing an attic truss roof, was that there is a very large, clear span roof space, with roof lights and services made ready for additional living or sleeping accommodation.

Working within a very tight budget the practice sought to provide simple dwellings that despite the constraints had a design edge. The buildings are partially clad in cedar boarding with clay tile roofs and the balance of the walls in red brick. Internally, whilst again operating to a tight budget, the specification and detailing achieved is of a much higher standard than would generally be expected in six very well appointed, light and airy village homes.

The dwellings have a very high energy efficiency rating and low maintenance specification and were constructed to a budget of £1,010 m2.