A SHIPSTON man inspired by TV show Grand Designs is setting up a community group for local people who want to build their own homes.
Mike Ashton, aged 45, is bringing together aspiring self-builders who want to snub housing developers and save money.
He’s not looking to put up an elaborate and quirky dream home, for him it’s about building a simple cheap house that gets his young family onto the property ladder.
Mike reckons if ten or 20 local people get together and purchase land in Shipston they could save thousands of pounds by cutting out the profit margin of developers.
He said: “It is something that I have thought about for some time. We have all seen programmes like Grand Designs where people build dream homes, but this is about the other end of the market. This is about trying to help people who don’t have their own home at the moment.”
Mike currently rents a two-bedroom house in Mill Court with his partner Bec and their 18-month-old son Jack.
He started thinking seriously about self-building when looking to buy a bigger place for his family.
On Tuesday, he’s holding a meeting at the Black Horse pub in Shipston for others interested in the idea. He said: “Whilst it can be daunting to think about building a house from scratch, by combining skills and making the best use of local resources, we can build homes that are energy efficient and comfortable.”
Mike, who is a gardener by trade but recently qualified as a plumber, doesn’t want to move away from Shipston, but says he would have to, to be able to afford to buy a house.
He hopes the idea will appeal to first-time buyers who feel they too can’t afford mortgage prices.
“Very roughly speaking, for every new house, a third is spent on land, a third is spent on building, and a third is profit for the developer,” he said. “You could potentially save up to a third.”
Admitting that he was a “bit of a dreamer,” he recognised that not everybody would be able to build a house and said there could be potential for a group of ten locals to employ a contractor to do the building. He thinks this will still end up saving the group money.
Mike’s idea is in embryonic stages, but he says there are groups like this doing similar things in Birmingham and Brighton.
He’s encouraging anyone from Shipston, or Stratford, to come along on Tuesday to find out more and contribute ideas.
The meeting is at 7.30pm.
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