Self-Build Opportunity in Govt's new Ecotown Initiative?

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Thu May 29 11:07:51 BST 2008

Taken from Page-17 of "Eco-towns, living a greener future" - Dept of Communities and Local Government consultation paper: 
"Ecotowns offer a major opportunity to improve the quality and delivery of housing and to trial new approaches. This could include: - affordable housing providers coming together to construct schemes which benefit from economies of scale and the opportunities for  innovation and reduced cost (30% to 50% of housing will be affordable)
- innovative approaches in which sites are made available to community groups and others on the cooperative model used in schemes such as Freiburg (Vauban) & Tubingen - CaseStudy3" ….

...Sounds to me an invitation  for co-housing groups and self builders co-operating to take advantage of the Governments initiative which is out for consultation until June  - 
e mail  Albert.Joyce at

50,000 additional houses  are planned in 10 out of 15 proposed new towns on the lines of the garden cities.  (Tim Henman's dad was in the national press is leading  a group protesting against the location of one near Weston village in Oxfordshire) so it must be a good thing!.


The consultation paper "seeks your views". This is an invitation both to comment on the initiative, but also to plug self build, co-housing initiatives,  self employment and low impact dwelling in the countryside associated with local food production. Each of these genres and their associated housing needs are omitted from the document as they were in The Barker Review of Housing. 

Negatively - arguably this  DCLG initiative is flawed since it discriminates against individual self builders. 50,000 building plots reserved for developers is 50,000 less for self-build.

The approach is typically "top-down, central planners know best" and the document is full of spin - "building homes " (houses) affordable homes ( means-tested from a waiting list) "zero carbon" but this is zero carbon in energy production only.  
Self build particularly seems to satisfy the criteria which also include 30-50% affordable housing (self-build could be 100%). 

We should take the positive approach 
I suggest all self build individuals and groups should make a joint approach bidding to take  say ten per cent of the plots on each of the ten sites. (they are scattered around the regions of England.)
A co-ordinated approach needs reading the document, sending an initial proposal to DCLG asking for some time, getting together for a reading, planning , drafting action weekend.(at my house if necessary )

1.  To promote self-build as a viable alternative to market housing so it is no longer ignored by HMG
2. To get 10% of the 50,000  units designated for self build or co-housing.
3. to get 100% of houses at accessible prices.  

 James , Dorchester   
tel 01305 265510              

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