Eco-Hamlets in Gloucestershire and West Wales

David Beasley tony at
Wed Oct 7 22:27:48 BST 2009

You may be interested in this news about an upcoming eco-hamlet in
Gloucestershire, and another in West Wales.


----- Forwarded Message ----
*From:* John Boshier <john at>
*Sent:* Monday, 5 October, 2009 12:49:39
*Subject:* Eco-Hamlet Newsletter No. 3

    Eco-Hamlet Newsletter No. 3

      5th October 2009

*Our First Site - More People Needed*

/This Newsletter is produced by the project to create a number of
Eco-Hamlets in Britain. Details can be found at You have been sent this edition because
you are a Member or Friend of the group, you are someone who may be
interested, or you could assist us with publicity or practical support.
If you want more details or would like to like get involved, or if you
don't wish to receive further editions, please let us know.

If you know of anyone who would be interested, especially if you think
they would like to be part of the projects described below, please pass
this Newsletter on to them.

Unless otherwise stated, everything has been written by John Boshier,
who would much rather other people wrote most of it!

      * Progress Report
      * Our First Eco-Hamlet - Urgent Support Needed
      * A Small Eco-Hamlet in Wales
      * Eco-Hamlets UK


        Progress Report

A lot has happened since the last Newsletter in June. I kept things
fairly low key to start with, and set a deadline of 30th June to decide
if the project was viable. The deadline passed, and good progress was
being made, so I'm sure there is a bright future ahead of us. We
currently have around 50 members, and a steady trickle of people are
joining. I'm planning to do more publicity, and as the word spreads, and
we're seen to be a group that makes things happen, I'm sure membership
will grow.
The big news is that we have had our offer accepted on a site in
Gloucestershire. We're working hard to make progress, but currently
urgently need a couple more people with vision and money, who are
prepared to join us to complete the purchase.*

        Our First Eco-Hamlet - Urgent Support Needed

Since July, we have been looking at a site with land in Gloucestershire.
Our offer to buy it has been accepted, and now the race is on to make
our plans, and complete the purchase. It consists of a 4 bedroom
17th/18th century house, that is not a listed building, a modern
cottage, a large workshop, and 12 acres of land. The exciting and
unusual feature is that part of the site is within the development
boundary of a village, and the planning officer for the area, who is
very supportive, has indicated that we may be able to create around a
dozen homes there. Some housing will come from converting the existing
buildings, but much of it will be new build. We are aiming to provide
housing at the lowest cost possible, to enable people with limited
resources to buy. We hope to have homes to buy, to rent and for shared

There is a 4 bedroomed house for renovation available, and and some
further accommodation that will require some alteration and renovation.
Some new build housing will be terraced or semi-detached, so individual
design choice would be limited on these. There will however also be
building plots for self build, where we hope to create varied and
imaginative homes. At least one person wants a log cabin, and there's
scope for lots of interesting shapes and different building materials,
so it may be your chance to build your dream low-impact home.

There are a number of crafts people involved with the project, and the
intention is to create work units on site to make it a busy and vibrant
place to live, but with plenty of opportunity for peaceful places too.
We are hoping to have a diverse mix of people of all ages living there,
making a living in a variety of ways. We are currently having plans
prepared for the site, and working with the local planning department to
put in an application as soon as possible.

The site is in an interesting situation on the edge of a village. There
are local shops, a primary school, good public transport and a thriving
local town, but it is also on the edge of countryside, and there are
fantastic views. It's a very practical location for many people, in a
lively area with plenty of environmentally aware people living locally..

We haven't finally decided on the type of legal body we will set up, but
it's likely that we will form a company to buy the site, and sell homes
or building plots on a very long lease. All leaseholders will be members
of the owning company, and will therefore have a say in how the site is
run. There will be provision for renting homes that will make tenants
feel secure and of equal status to home owners.

*To achieve our aims, we need more people to put money into the initial
purchase. We would like people who wish to live in the Eco-Hamlet, but
we are also open to offers of loans, donations or grants, and may be in
a position to issue shares. It would be a social enterprise, so while
interest or dividend payments should be paid, they would be capped at a
fair level. There will be a level of uncertainty for the initial
investors, but we would hope this would be compensated for by having the
pick of the best plots, and by paying a lower price for their home than
later residents. All this is open for discussion with potential
investors, and doesn't constitute an offer to sell property or shares at
this stage.*

*If you are interested in joining in, please contact us as soon as
possible for more information. This project will only succeed if enough
people have the vision to make it happen, and we have a limited time to
achieve this. We hope it will be the first of many Eco-Hamlets, so it's
a great opportunity to be there at the beginning.

*Please contact us at eco-hamlets at if you are

        A Small Eco-Hamlet in Wales

One of our members has almost completed negotiations to buy a small site
in West Wales. It's a fair sized house with 6 acres of woodland and
grass. The house has an unusual layout, and has potential to be divided
into 3 small homes, and there is a potential building plot. The initial
phase will involve letting rooms to lodgers, who would hopefully be like
minded people who would make use of the land and facilities available.
The next phase is to develop a number of interesting permaculture based
projects on the site. Phase 3 will be to obtain planning permission to
divide the house and do the new build, and make these homes available
for sale or rent.

If anyone is interested in moving straight to phase 3 now, please get in
touch. The buyer would love to have some money available to invest in
the Gloucestershire Eco-Hamlet too!

Anyone interesting in renting a room is also welcome to get in touch.
Hopefully it will be something rather different to a conventional shared
house. Animals (both pets and livestock!) welcome, space to grow food,
share work on the smallholding, and maybe car sharing too!

Please contact us at eco-hamlets at if you are interested.

        Eco-Hamlets UK

As you will have seen from the items above, things are starting to
happen. When I started the group it was mainly with the intention of
finding somewhere for me to live with like minded people. It was in my
mind that it would be great to create further Eco-Hamlets, but that
wasn't my priority. I kept things very low key to start with until I was
sure there was enough interest, so this Newsletter may be the first
you've heard of us. As I started to gather information through an online
survey, it was very obvious that we didn't have enough members wanting
to live in the same location, and who would be ready to act at the same
time. So we needed more members, but that would mean that if we bought
just one site there would be a lot of disappointed members who wanted to
be somewhere else. Of course, as my aim was to find somewhere for me to
live, this one site might not have suited me either! It also seemed a
waste of time and resources to do all the work needed to buy and create
a single Eco-Hamlet, and then for other groups to have to redo much of
it later. So the group began to evolve into a group that brings people
together, helps them to find suitable sites, and provides the
information and support they need to create lots of Eco-Hamlets.

This evolution is happening slowly. I have registered a domain name
( for the web site. If you visit the site you may
find that some pages haven't been updated from when it was first
launched in April, and so don't yet entirely reflect where we're now
going. I've been developing a new Member's web site that is starting to
go live. This is where people will get together to form Groups to work
on individual projects, search for sites in particular locations, and
develop and record the knowledge and documents we can all share. There
will also be an online system for new members, where they complete a
survey that will help to match them with people with similar aims. I'm
also involved with buying two sites, and doing all this while living in
a small motorhome with a usually painfully slow internet connection! So
if some exciting facility you're waiting impatiently for hasn't happened
yet, please bear with me for a little longer!

If you're not already a member, and want to join us, please e-mail
eco-hamlets at


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