Next week a public consultation will be held by South Harris Eco Developments about a project they have initiated to help local residents build their own homes.
South Hams Eco Developments, otherwise known as SHED, was set up by architect Mike Derry, construction manager Jonathan Stilwell, and Matt Farrand, a renewable energy installer. All three founders are local businessmen.
They have spent the last year preparing to submit an outline planning application for the project site, which is situated on the northern edge of Kingsbridge. They now want to discuss their intentions with residents of the town and the surrounding area.
SHED is in the middle of putting together a scheme to provide the local authority with needed housing in a way that makes it genuinely affordable. In the process, they have been reviewing potential options for self-build or custom-build homes, which enable the future owners to use their own work to add value to the property.
According to Jonathan Stilwell, the development itself will have an overall design so that planning permission is more readily attainable, but there will be a choice of how much self-build work the people do to provide the properties with added value. They will also have choices when it comes to laying out and specifying the houses.
There have been many positive meetings between SHED and both the Kingsbridge Town Council and South Hams District Council. Questionnaires have also been sent out to any local residents who may be interested in participating in the project.
Matt Farrand’s training and expertise in renewable energy will enable the homes to be as environmentally friendly as possible in their design, so they would not be expensive to heat and run.
SHED have also been in talks with the South Hams District Council affordable homes officers, as well as many housing associations that support innovative schemes to help local residents buy their own home.
Mr Farrand confirmed that over 80 questionnaires have been sent out so far, and many completed ones have been returned. A few more are expected over the next couple of weeks.