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6 South Devon families are creating their own eco self-build homes

The project began four years ago when The Broadhempston Community Land Trust was formed by village residents who wanted to build their own affordable homes.

Working with Teignbridge District Council, they located land on the edge of the village that wouldn’t normally have been granted planning permission.

Eco self-build homesThe trust owns the freehold on the land and 25% of the value of the six three and four-bedroom homes they are building there. The project was only open to couples and families living with in a two-mile radius and with ties to the village.

A £900,000 loan from Resonance, a community land and finance community interest company, has funded the project, providing finance to take it through to the planning stage and then on a draw-down basis throughout the build. When the families move in, in October or November, the repayments will begin.

The families are working alongside contractors as the build continues. They were able to help with the foundation work, moving concrete beams and blocks, but the current woodframe stage has been left largely to contractors.

The group has of course had problems getting even this far – not least of which were the neighbouring newts and next door dormice which delayed the project by eight months.

Eco self-build homes

With eight children among the families, and varying levels of employment, self-employment and full-time working on the build, some people will be able to do more work than others. But the plan is to complete all the homes first and then all move in at the same time.

The homes were designed by LED Architects at their Totnes office, who are proud of the extremely high levels of insulation they have achieved for relatively low cost – strawbale walls within the wooden frame playing an important part.

The original plan was for the homes to be connected to mains services, but practical issues, and the resultant high costs involved, will probably mean they will source their water from a borehole and their sewage will be processed in a biodigester.

(Extract courtesy of Reconnect magazine)