Kit Malthouse MP, the Minister of State for Housing, paid a visit to Graven Hill in Bicester to see first-hand how the largest self-build community in the UK is progressing.

Cherwell District Council hosted the visit, the second by a housing Minister to the district this year, as it provided an opportunity for them to showcase the Garden Town project.

Graven Hill is described as a “pioneering venture in self- and custom- build, enabling individuals to design homes on pre-prepared plots”. Up to 1,900 “unique homes” will be built over 10 years and will be surrounded by open, green spaces including woodland, allotments and a network of cycleways and footpaths. The planning consent also allows for a new primary school, pre-school nursery, community centre, shops, cafes and local pub to be built.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded a south London community group almost £1m to help it deliver social rented and other “genuinely affordable” homes for local residents and workers. The Rural Urban Synthesis Society

(RUSS) – a Lewisham-based Community Land Trust – has received £998,000 from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund to build 33 homes on Church Grove in Ladywell. Five of the homes will be allocated by Lewisham Council while RUSS will retain at least 20 per cent equity in the remaining 28 properties, “ensuring they cannot be sold on the open market and will only ever be transferred on to members on the RUSS waiting list”. The homes, ranging from one

bedroom flats to four bedroom homes will be partly self-built by residents, RUSS members, apprentices and volunteers from the wider community. This is in order to reduce construction costs, with training in construction skills provided as part of the grant. The Mayor’s statement said that through

this approach, residents will be given a say in how their homes are designed, creating a development that reflects the needs and diverse backgrounds of the people who live there. Khan has set a target to “identify a pipeline” of community-led housing schemes by 2021, with capacity to deliver at least 1,000 homes.


Potton submits plans to bring custom-build to Great Gransden

Custom-build and self-build specialist Potton has submitted plans to redevelop the site of its headquarters on Eltisley Road in Great Gransden, Bedfordshire, to create a brand new custom-build development on the edge of the village. The proposed development, which will provide 38 fully-serviced plots of varying

sizes, layout and cost, offers self-builders “an alternative route to aspirational home ownership in the area”. With a vision to provide the opportunity of “homes for everyone”, the plots – starting from £140,000 – will accommodate a variety of dwelling sizes. The in-house design team at Potton has produced a selection of house styles suited to the site which will have outline planning permission already in place upon plot reservation. The company has also produced a ‘Plot Prospectus’ which outlines the proposed house designs along with specific planning requirements. Designs can be tailored to the owners’ lifestyle and budget. Potton is working with Huntingdonshire Planning Authority which holds a public Right to Build Register of people wishing to purchase serviced plots of land to build on, as per the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015. Priority plot reservation will be offered to those registered. In addition to 38 homes, the site includes five plots designated for show homes so

those building on the site can “see, feel and experience how a home could look”. Potton has plans to work with landowners across the country to develop further opportunities for custom-build. The company is also holding regular “surgeries” at its head office where those interested in the Great Gransden site can find out more about the opportunity, including the proposed site layout and house types.


Boon Brown Architects will start work overseeing the construction of the Lake House, a contemporary new build private residence situated on a man-made island in a flooded quarry in the Cotswolds.

The practice has been lead consultant and architect from

design inception through to planning and technical design, and will continue to work with the client to administer the build contract. A reinforced concrete frame will enable large column-free spans, while maintaining a slim flat-slab floor construction and low storey height. Exposed concrete is largely left fair faced internally. The modular clad ground floor will feature a high percentage of energy performance glazing and black glass spandrel cladding.

The first floor will appear to ‘float’ and will have views out over the lake,

with the master bedroom featuring a 6 m x 3 m frameless floor to ceiling picture window. The cladding will incorporate larch vertical strips, matching surrounding buildings and being sensitive to the property’s woodland setting. There will also be some parts finished in a black render. The house will feature a VRF refrigerant comfort cooling system, which will

serve fan coil units unobtrusively built into each room. The building fabric will be highly insulated and a water source heat pump will provide the underfloor heating. The ventilation system will incorporate heat recovery and tempered fresh air supply. The project is sited at The Lakes by Yoo – a disused quarry site flooded to

create sculptured island plots for individual dwellings. The house will be split over three floors and include five bedrooms, living, dining and media rooms, plus a roof-level reading room that connects to a terrace and hydropool.

november/december 2018

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