Learn how to build a dream home

Artists impression of Graven Hill Development
Artists impression of Graven Hill Development

A new housing development offers people a unique chance to design and build their dream home and save thousands of pounds in the process, according to an industry expert.

Graven Hill to the south of Bicester was once a defence storage depot but the 187-hectare site is now set to house up to 1,900 self-build homes to create the biggest scheme of its kind in the country.

For those who are interested in building their own home, a free ‘self-build academy’ is being held in Quainton this week to help people understand more about what is involved.

Industry expert Dr Paul Newman, a director at self-build firm Potton, which has organised the event, said: “The term self-build is a slight misnomer because most people don’t build their own home hands-on.

“What they they do is design and procure their home.

“Forty per cent of people self-manage the project, the rest go to a contractor.”

There are now approximately 12,000 new builds across the UK per annum and the market trend is on the up.

Dr Newman said self-building can be 20 per cent cheaper than buying a house on the market.

“That’s not a hyped up figure, that is very achievable.”

He said Graven Hill presented a ‘big opportunity’ for those who want to build their own home, with the authorities watching on with ‘excitement’ to see how such developments can help ease the housing crisis.

He said design codes would ensure Graven Hill didn’t become a ‘mish-mash’ of many different styles, but added: “Elsewhere in Europe people are allowed free rein, particularly in the Netherlands, and it works quite well there.”

The Green Dragon eco-centre in Quainton, a Potton structure, is hosting the academy on Friday, April 24. It will cover the concept of self-build, how to find land, how to finance the scheme, how to design it and a case study on how the eco centre was built.

The Eco Centre, a timber-building supplied by Potton, houses the Eco Café, shop and events’ room. It also showcases a heating system run by a biomass boiler while the photovoltaic panels on the roof give power and light.

For more details log onto http://www.potton.co.uk/news-and-events/introduction-to-self-build.