Planning permission has been granted for 9 houses designed by Hockerton Housing Project.
The earth-sheltered homes will be built on a greenfield site on the edge of a rural village. It is (rightly) not easy to get permission to build on such sites, and the owner had to take the case through to Appeal after the local Council refused permission.
One way to get planning permission on greenfield sites is to demonstrate outstanding architectural merit through an innovative design. This is notoriously difficult as the bar is constantly being raised, and features such as new technologies, complex shapes, height, and overall size add to land, design, build and running costs.
Our approach is the opposite. Our designs are simple and have exceptionally low running costs. However, we argue that we remain innovative so long as measures such as SAP and Passivhaus do not recognise our use of super-insulated thermal mass as a heat store.
The Appeals Inspector for this application recognised the many benefits of the form of our design but felt it was too simple in its aesthetic to get planning permission on the basis of architectural merit, and there was insufficient innovation in his view. That raises questions as to whether planning policy deters affordable housing in rural areas, but there is a positive in that the affordability of our design and the wider scheme remained pertinent to the final judgement.
Permission was granted on the basis that the greenfield site is not isolated and as such the homes would support the economic and social vitality of the village due to their energy saving credentials, size, appeal and affordability to young people and downsizers. Both the Council and the Appeal also recognised that the homes, with their earth-sheltering, related landscaping and reed beds will improve the biodiversity of the site.
Hockerton Housing Project is going to hold a second peg loom workshop on 4 March 2018 following the success of its first in the Autumn.
Here at Hockerton Housing Project we were fed up with our fleeces from our sheep having no use or value apart from being made into compost! We wanted to put them to a creative use. As part of this we ran our first peg and loom workshop in the Autumn of 2017. Agnes Kiemel who is the shepherdess for Notts Wildlife Trust came to lead the workshop and her husband Mark made us our own peg looms.
During the day we started to make our rugs – 60 cm in diameter using the fleeces from our sheep! We have Herdwick crosses so ideal for rug making and Herdwick wool is used primarily for carpet making. At the end of the day we had all completed our rugs to different lengths and they all looked different. So we packed up our looms and fleeces and took them home to finish off.
The pleasure in making one of these is that you can pick it up in a quiet moment during the day, a couple of rows a day and it is soon completed. The advantage of having a 60 cm loom is that you can actually use it to make any size item!
We still have more fleeces that we can share with another group so we are running another workshop on Sunday 4th March, 2018. The day starts at 10am with coffee and biscuits. Agi then shows us how to get started and off we go. Lunch is provided and the day concludes at about 3.30pm. You get to take everything home with you, loom and pegs, fleeces to finish and a very warm and happy feeling.
The course is limited to 8 people per session and is £100 per person to include everything. If you don’t want to keep the pegs and loom you can return them to the project within 3 months and you receive a £40 refund!
You can book your place on our next workshop here.