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Eco-estate offers supported home builds

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A Cotswold eco-estate is offering buyers the chance to design their own homes

Following in the footsteps of Urban Splash’s Tutti Frutti project in Manchester, Lower Mill Estate in Gloucestershire will release plots to buyers for between £150,000 and £650,000.

Billed as self build without ‘Grand Designs-style traumas’, the package is aimed at the considerable chunk of ‘middle-class Britain’ who the estate thinks are ‘being convinced by the likes of Kevin McCloud that they should build their own dream’.

Clients can choose their own architect to work with and go wild – at least within the bounds of design criteria set by the estate – or they can opt for a ready-made package.

For a ‘credit crunch-busting price’ – an extra £145,000 or so – the owner of the estate’s own firm Conservation Builders will ‘come up with a unique piece of architecture, they will recommend a building company and manage the project from start to finish’.

The design team scrutinising new designs includes Stirling Prize-winner Will Alsop and will apparently ensure finished buildings comply with local planning requirements, are well-built with sustainable materials, adaptable for future generations and respect the natural environment.

The Lower Mill Estate is set in a nature reserve. Planning permission for the estate stipulates that the houses must be second homes, empty for at least one month every year. In the past, it has made a point of hiring high-profile architects.

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