James Matthew Atkinson

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24th July 2014 at Gretna Green

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[15 February 2014][Interests]
Self Builds and the Choices that have to be made Part 1 (3)

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Main » 2014 » February » 15 » Self Builds and the Choices that have to be made Part 1
4:12 PM
Self Builds and the Choices that have to be made Part 1
I have always wanted to build my own home. We are a few steps closer but have a long way to go as I was made redundant just as I'd built up enough savings.

Looking into it again recently has reignited my passion to carry on with the plan. I have been in touch with a very helpful architect that won an award from Grand Designs under the affordable section. The structure was based on a barn, steel structure and wood panelling with straw insulation and solar energy. The house would be built in an 'area of outstanding national beauty' which means alternative structures do not usually get a look in. The term AONB is, in my opinion, a pathetic and antiquated term. The area is a place in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. Now Nidderdale lost its pure beauty once the railway was removed and it is all traffic and congestion.

I am pleased that the government has given an emphasis on affordable self builds. It is this that has shot a bullet up my ass to get going on an application. Julia, my partner, is going to help and my father (who's land it is) seems very interested in giving us a hand.

One thing I remember when I was once interviewed for a job in the planning department in Harrogate was that they were changing the way plans are looked into. You have to now pay £54 pounds just to send a pre enquiry form in. This does not guarantee someone will come and see your land, it just means they will give some advice.

I received an email from them that states -

'Good Morning,


The new process for obtaining advice regarding an application is to now submit a Pre Enquiry Application Form, the timescale is 6-8 weeks and the fee is £54.


The drawings do not need to be done by an architect at this stage, they can be sketches drawn by yourselves, providing you advise of the dimensions, you can by all means submit more than one idea and label them in order of preference.


A request can be made on the application for the case officer to visit the site, however this is purely at the discretion of the case officer.


The form can be found on our website.'

It is the phrase 'purely at the discretion of the case officer' that is a worry. I will reserve judgement and see what happens.

If I could build a 'grand design' I would but money and time are not on my side. Huff Houses are fantastic but too expensive and, although, there are 2 just about to be built in a very protected area of Polzeath in Cornwall, I very much doubt Harrogate council is ready for such a great design.

I really like the designs from the rural office for architecture

Here is a great project they did that has had praise from various media publications

The cost of the build is £80 thousand and is quite cheap to run, it is called New Barn, Pantybara

Going back to the £41 thousand affordable 'Barnhaus' I emailed the winning architect, Ed Green from the Pentan Partnership, who stated that in AONB areas can struggle with houses that don't fit in.

That must be why all the houses look so boring in Nidderdale. I can pick a handful that are stand out, just a handful.

He replied;

'Your main challenge is in relation to the AONB status of the area

Generally a project needs to be either for someone ‘working’ the land or exceptional in quality in order to gain approval within an AONB. However, as you noted, national planning policy has changed over the last 18months, and local authorities are now required to allocate land for self-build in particular, giving you a bit more wriggle room'

I really love the house below called 'Hoo House'

As Kevin McCloud described it so expressively;

'If you want a template for a modern three-bedroomed chalet house then this is it. 

It was affordable, imaginative and inventive without being capricious. It was designed by Jerry Tate, who had a lot to do with the Eden Project. He takes a pragmatic approach with builds and is focused on an ergonomic use of space. If only the majority of building projects costing three or four times more than this across the country displayed an ounce of the invention this did you could feel more positive about the future'

It is spacious and delightful inside and the outside roof slopes are genius in their execution

Category: Interests | Views: 2720 | Added by: James | Rating: 0.0/0
Total comments: 3
0 Spam
I too am looking to build an affordable home within the Harrogate district. I live and work here and im a designer myself. I've also gone down the route of researching 'affordable' kit homes that in the end arent really that affordable! Add to that the extortionate price of Land In any HG postcode and you're looking at a £500k build which is why homes in the first place arent affordable in this area! I've recently emailed Harrogate council and have asked them to be placed on their List when it becomes available in April 2016 to register an interest in fully serviced plots for self builders like myself. The government says they have asked councils to compile a list of self builders but Harrogate Planners got back to me to say its not a requirement for them to actually provide anything at this stage just to take down names! I would be very interested in these Modern Barn style/chalet homes for my first home in Harrogate and if anyone is interested in a group self build im sure a group of self builders would have more clout speaking to the planners concerning releasing land and just as importantly agreeing to let us build a mini self build estate of our own modular design. The problem i see and one that the council need to address is that when anything like this surfaces the greedy and wealthy Harrogatonian developers are all over it for profit whilst us normal people are just trying to create a family home and we don't get a look in so hopefully that will be addressed!? I am more than happy to speak with other self builders in the area though looking to build an affordable and energy efficient home and being a 3d designer myself and interior design I can add some great ideas for discussion to make our dreams happen.
0 Spam
P.s james I really like the Hoo House! I have looked into a modern barn style myself and this is my favourite so far (The Model D home) but probably more like a 150k build...cheaper if obviously there are a few people building a small estate of these as costs come down in Bulk.


Hi Chris,
I apologise for the delay in getting back to your comments. I totally agree with the cost in this region. I would like to know if you have managed to get anyone else on board or have had any luck with the local planning regarding the list of self builders?



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