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Hundreds Attend Free Self-Build Seminars

Hundreds of aspiring homeowners attended a series of free self-build seminars to learn more about proposals in Bicester, the largest self-build site in the UK.

The seminars were presented by build industry experts to advise local people on how to build their own homes.

Six seminars were organised by the Graven Hill Development Company (GHDC) and the Cherwell District Council and held four times on March 21. Almost 700 people were in attendance.

Karen Curtin, GHDC director, said that the Graven Hill development project has been making both local and national headlines.

She said that the day of seminars represented the beginning of a journey, bringing potential customers in contact with industry experts who could clarify the self-build process and answer any questions the people may have.

The featured seminars included advice about the self-build process, finance, and budgeting, as well as their benefits and the supply chains available.

The site, which the Cherwell District Council bought from the Ministry of Defence, has received outline planning permission for up to 1,900 self-build houses, shops, a primary school, pub, and capacity for up to 2,000 jobs.

Initial construction at the site, which measures 187 hectares and is situated three miles from junction 9 of the M40, is also scheduled to be featured in ‘My Grand Design’, a six-part documentary presented by Kevin McCloud.

Ms Curtin added that they knew the event was going to be popular, but the enthusiasm and interest that the project has inspired has been “staggering.”

The GHDC director pointed out that local residents were not on the only ones who attended: several people crossed the country to take part, and the post-event feedback has been fantastic.

The project is now expecting a surge of demand when the first plots go on sale later this year.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Another series of seminars is planned for this June, but in the meantime another free self-build ‘academy’ is being held at The Green Dragon eco-centre in Quainton on April 24. Its mandate is to help those interested in pursuing this option understand what is involved.

There are now around 12,000 new self-build properties constructed every year in the UK, and the numbers are going up. A generally accepted figure is that self-building can be up to 20% cheaper than buying an equivalent existing home.

Graven Hill offers a tremendous opportunity for those who want to build their own home whilst saving some money on the current market values. Local councils and those in power at Westminster are eagerly watching the results at Graven Hill to determine how developments of this type can help ameliorate the housing crisis.

The scheme will use an overarching design code in order to prevent Graven Hill from becoming a confusing mix of different architectural styles.

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