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Edge Award Winner Proposes Small Self-Build Homes as Housing Crisis Solution

The newly-named Outstanding New Business Idea of 2016 is a unique and innovative project to create self-build homes that are both small and affordable.

It has been hailed as a potential way of easing the country’s housing crisis. SNUG Homes aim to minimise the gap in the current UK housing market by combining the efficiency of a template design with the personalised quality of the self-build environment.

The scheme was designed and developed by Ecomotive, a self-build social enterprise and cooperative that evolved from Bristol’s Ashley Vale self-build initiative.

Jackson Moulding, the director of Ecomotive, said that the idea for SNUG Homes originated from a 2013 conversation about how to help more UK residents build their own home. Instead of opting for the luxury self-build projects that are a staple of television programmes like Grand Designs, they wanted to make these concept homes more affordable.

The SNUG Homes project was created and developed with the intention of putting together a prototype in 2015, the year that Bristol spent as European Green Capital. Although they missed that time frame by a margin, their enthusiasm for the idea remained strong.

Mr Moulding explained that with the prototype now completed, the company wants to hear everyone’s opinion on how future housing should be created, and whether future homeowners want to have a voice in the design and construction of their residences. He added that it took nearly a year to locate a site somewhere within or near Bristol’s city centre to construct the prototype and exhibit it.

The Bristol council has given its approval for a site in Redcliffe Way, and the company has a planning application in process. It is expected the home will be in place by this summer.

Mr Moulding admitted that the process has involved a lot of hard work, but the company has received support in the form of funding through Bristol 2015, School for Social Entrepreneurs and UWE group Innovation4Growth, as well as collaborators like Barton Willmore.

 

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Tom Macklen, an architect from Barton Willmore, accepted the award on behalf of the project and has worked closely with the group on the design. Mr Macklin said that everyone was “delighted” to have won. They enjoyed the entire event and were inspired to see so many exciting and innovative initiatives taking place in Bristol.

Jackson Moulding added that winning the award was fantastic, as it evidenced recognition of a need to address the housing shortage. The group looks forward to collaborating with as many people as possible to help them create their dream homes, although they admit the biggest obstacle facing self-builders right now is finding available land.

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