Planning Application/Conservation, Landscape Listed, Areas and Listed Building

West Dorset District Council, West Devon Borough Council, Dartmoor National Park, East Devon District Council, Somerset Mendip District Council


Conservationist article ‘Paving and Cobbles’

Stone Flags: large flat stones cut to rectangular shapes

Paving setts: cut stone blocks of various district sizes


Stone used for cobble paving is not necessarily sourced from the beach. It is found originally in fields where it occurs as small freestone, and is picked up over years as part of agricultural husbandry clearance, then sold for paving uses.

Around old buildings where cobble paving was used these stones can still be found in the ground. They generally have one or two smoothed edges – worn smooth by ancient pedestrian and vehicular use and reused many times over centuries. Stones are individually laid on edge, the longest stone length driven and hammered with skill as not to fracture the stone into a ‘bed’ of sand to form a general overall finished level. The stones are butted tightly together and hold each other in place anchored by their length. Only the sides of the paved area are haunched in to hold tight using mortar below ground. Paving is laid to a general common direction depending on the shape of the stone and type.

Paving stone shapes lend for lay variations and stone type mixes for example stone flags and cobbles.

Stone Flags and Cobbles example design by Hugh O’Connell

Reclaimed local stone flags, and onsite found freestone cobble were laid together to form paths around the Somerset Grade 1 Listed house illustrated. The medieval front doors originally suffered from flooding problems in heavy rain conditions. To alleviate this problem, a sand ‘bund’ mound was formed adjacent the ancient paved flagstones fronting the doors. Freestone cobble, found on site, was laid as paving over the mound then graded to the flagstones on the house side, the other side graded into the ground. Crushed Mendip stone was then laid and rolled in for overall drive surface finish. Outsourced white granite setts laid by local builders were used to create bound edges to the drive and lawn.




Cathedral masons (in their spare time) helped with the laying of the paved paths with the designer. The designer also laid and formed the sand and cobble bund in front of the house.



Planning Applications Conservation Areas and Listed Building

West Dorset District Council

Application No 1/D/10/000153

Designer/Agent: Hugh O’Connell.
Decision: Landscape design for new build Huf Hause replace chalet with basement accomodation (Full) Accepted
Parish: Burton Bradstock
Site location: 3 fields off Chesil Beach'

West Devon Borough Council

Application No 7352/2005/OKE

Condition 4 landscaping prior commencement of construction in Okehampton, Devon.

Designer/Agent: Hugh O’Connell.
Decision: “Plan submitted constitutes an acceptable landscaping proposal 6883/2004/OKE 2007 Carlton Cinema site” in conjunction with Mike Hooper Architects Tavistock Devon who designed the block of flats for Charles Grey Ltd builder/developer.

Landscape Design for new build in the town centre. The land was originally covered by concrete and stone buildings for years that caused the soil to become anaerobic (Oxygen – starved) these soil conditions are hostile for plant growth. New Grade 1 soil was brought in from Exeter to replace the existing subsoil.

The designed area is for Wheeled Bins in locked containers for some flat occupants, also easy access for bin collection by Council contractors. The area planted and paved to be in keeping with the adjacent Conservation Area.

All services to the flats run underground through the landscaped area, hence the iron railings. The ‘Low Maintenance’ area with its plants is attached to the building. This is not a garden although is viewed and kept for public (street) pedestrian and flat use. The planting is designed for year round visual interest.

Dartmoor National Park

Designer/Agent: Hugh O'Connell. For Grade 2 listed house Grant of Conditional Planning Permission Application No 0529/02. Grant of Listed Building Consent various external works inclusive granite steps with Norman arch under see drawing (This is a Rotring drawing scaled at 1:10).

Step blocks made in original deep ground sourced compressed strength diamond saw cut Bodmin granite. Dartmoor deep ground compressed strength granite was unobtainable. No quarries were open for production. Imported granite from China was unacceptable to the Authority verbally per the Conservation Officer.

(Granite occurring naturally near the ground surface that has a crumbly weak texture with little overall strength is unsuitable for cut block steps)

East Devon District Council

Designer/Agent: Hugh O'Connell. Application No 7/69/02/Pz176/00169.
Decision Grant of Conditional Planning Permission 2003.

Construction of Bases and 4 Greenhouses (engineers John Grimes Partnership Ltd) adjacent SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest near Smeatharpe Devon

Somerset Mendip District Council

Grade 2 Star Listed House Pilton, Somerset.
Designer/Agent: Hugh O'Connell. Application for Works of felling trees in Conservation Area

Decision; “No objections 2004”


Conservation Companies

Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust - CSBT is a charitable company committed to making building design and construction as sustainable as possible, with minimal negative impact on the environment, both locally and globally.


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