Woolbrook Sidmouth Devon A former reservoir with consent for conversion to a circular courtyard residence

Woolbrook Sidmouth Devon A former reservoir with consent for conversion to a circular courtyard residence Woolbrook Reservoir SITUATION This distinc...
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Woolbrook Sidmouth Devon A former reservoir with consent for conversion to a circular courtyard residence

Woolbrook Reservoir SITUATION This distinctive, elevated and wooded site with its unique, grassed, dome-shaped structure (formerly a South West Water Limited water service reservoir) lies within the boundary of the northern part of the elegant Regency town centre of Sidmouth, the coastline of which forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Occupying an area of 0.47 hectares/1.2 acres, the site is located in a sylvan setting in Lower Woolbrook and is of local landscape amenity value. Access is from an existing drive off Balfours and from the neighbouring areas of Middle and Higher Woolbrook. Local amenities are close by and the centre of the town is within a short driving distance, with bathing, boating, good shopping and social facilities.

SITE The site and structure represent an exciting opportunity to create a unique and important conversion for Sidmouth, where the over-arching objective for the proposal is to create an exemplar scheme using high quality, contemporary architecture to draw on the site’s sustainability credentials while at the same time maintaining the visual integrity of a man-made, local landscape feature. The former reservoir is of concrete construction and has a circular ground plan with a diameter of approximately 25 metres/82 feet under a domed roof. It is located at the top of a hill and covered with an established grass sward.


CONVERSION PROPOSAL The Company’s architect and landscape consultants have worked closely with the officers of East Devon District Council not only to enhance the important visual amenity but also to create a conversion to a part earth-sheltered five bedroom residence of exciting and spectacular dimensions. The architect’s approved conceptual design is to provide the following accommodation. Entrance into the house is gained from a tunnel leading off the gentle serpentine line of the drive and a tree-and-shrub-screened turning area. The tunnel entrance and adjacent garage doors connect as a vertically-timbered screen asymmetrically aligned to create a deepening shadow line under the natural stone-faced, arched wall. The asymmetrical walls of the tunnel continue this line, gradually widening from the solid timber door to the sand-blasted entrance screen to the house, which diffuses the light from beyond. From the entrance lobby, the internal space of the two-storey entrance hall, with its full-height glazing, unfolds dramatically both vertically and horizontally into the open courtyard where views of the sky and the treetops will be appreciated. Around the perimeter of this courtyard is a one-metre-wide reflecting pool, alluding to the structure’s former use as a reservoir. This creation of a pleasant but well-contained, formal, outdoor environment again encourages its continued use as the principal outdoor space. At required entry points to the courtyard are non-slip, toughened glass bridges over the pool, gently illuminated for night-time access. The courtyard links with the twin-level terrace featuring a barbecue area and store, which in turn, from the upper level, opens and gives access into the discrete garden to the south.






ACCOMMODATION (THE PROPOSAL) The internal accommodation designed by the architect is for a five-bedroom house with three principal reception rooms and kitchen. The principal accommodation overlooks the central and open courtyard. GROUND FLOOR

Gross building area 338.5m2, 3,644ft2 (approximately), including garage and tunnel. Features are the two-storey entrance hallway with two-storey glazing to the courtyard. Stairway to first floor. Cloakroom with WC. Utility Room, Store Room and Plant Room.

Living Room

8.45m/27’9” x 5.4m/18’ part double storey with gallery over, feature fireplace and stairway to gallery over. Doorway to courtyard.


5.5m/18’ x 4.75m/15’6”.

Dining Room

5.5m/18’ x 4.5m/14’9”.

Master Guest Suite

5.5m /18’ x 2.75m/12’3” with en-suite dressing room and separate bathroom.


5.5m/18’ x 3.3m/10’9”.


Gross building area 241.5m2 / 2,600ft2 (approximately). Living Room Gallery with stairway to ground floor and fitted Library.


Master Bedroom

5.5m/18’ x 4m/13’ with patio doors to terrace. En-suite bathroom.

Bedroom 2

4.2m/13’8” x 3.75m/12’5” with patio door to balcony and en-suite bathroom.

Bedroom 3

4.2m/13’8” x 3.75m/12’5” with patio door to balcony and en-suite bathroom.

Bedroom 4

4.2m/13’8” x 4m/12’9” with patio door to balcony and en-suite bathroom.


7.1m/23’ x 5.5m/18’ together with a cycle and bin store and internal access to the entrance tunnel.

GARDENS AND GROUNDS The separate garden store is proposed at a location where excavation can be made into an existing site gradient to create a partially underground structure. To establish an entrance to the store, a new Devon bank is proposed which is carried around the rear of the building itself, thus creating three of its walls. A simple, curved profile green roof will enclose the structure, echoing that of the main house. The aim of the garden design has been to produce a harmonious scheme that blends the landscape and the house with the shape of the land and the nature of the setting. The garden has three interlinked spaces: the ‘tree-covered north slope’, the central ‘tree meadow’ and the discrete ‘house-garden’ to the south. The serpentine wave-shape, formed by a combination of meadow grass and large trees, runs through the core of the garden design and provides a subtle reference to the former use of the site, at the same time integrating the different areas of the site and wrapping the garden design around and over the house.

Western red cedar double doors (untreated)

North West Elevation

SERVICES Mains services are available in the roadway and the purchasers will need to make their own arrangements with the statutory undertakers as to connections.

PLANNING Detailed planning consent was granted for conversion to a single dwelling on 17 October 2006. Planning reference no. 06/0522/FUL.


Reproduced by South West Water Ltd from the Ordnance Survey map by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office Crown copyright (South West Water Ltd, licence number: 100018191)


Scale 1:2500


DIRECTIONS From Exeter, take the A3052 main road to Sidmouth, passing through Newton Poppleford, and continue on this road past The Bowd Inn. Do not take the turning to Sidmouth at this point but continue for a further 0.4 of a mile, then take the right turn into Woolbrook Road (signposted Sidmouth). Travel for a further 0.6 of a mile and turn right at the Church of St Francis of Assissi. Continue up this road, then take the first left into Balfours and shortly thereafter on the right is a seven-bar, galvanised iron gate with a South West Water sign on it and this is the entrance to the site.

IMPORTANT NOTICES The architect’s design can be readily adapted to suit the individual’s specific requirements (subject to local authority approval). It is to be noted that because of the room proportions, the room measurements are average measurements only. Responsibility for maintenance of the boundaries is indicated by a T-mark where the boundary responsibility is known. There is a drainage channel running through the lower garden to collect run-off and to protect the neighbouring properties’ gardens. This channel should be maintained. There is a third party right of shared access up part of the entrance driveway to gain access to the neighbouring woodland.

PROPERTY MISREPRESENTATION ACT South West Water Limited for themselves and for Peninsula Properties (Exeter) Ltd give notice that:The particulars are set out as a general outline only for the guidance of interested purchasers and do not constitute part of any offer or contract. All descriptions, dimensions, references to condition, necessary permissions for use and occupation, and other details are given without responsibility, and any intending purchasers should not rely on them as statements or representations of fact but must satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise as to the correctness of each of them. All dimensions and areas are approximate figures computed in accordance with the RICS/ISVA Code of Measuring Practice (reprinted 1991 3rd edition). No person in the employment of South West Water Limited or Peninsula Properties (Exeter) Ltd has any authority to make or give any representation or warranty whatsoever in relation to this property.

For more information contact: Peninsula Properties Peninsula House, Rydon Lane, Exeter, Devon EX2 7HR Tel: 01392 443686 Fax: 01392 424275 email: [email protected] A subsidiary of South West Water Limited. Registered Office as above. Registered in England No. 2307220

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