|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 -
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.
'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