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East Anglia Future 50

Farmer's 'sustainable' housing scheme set to break new ground

PUBLISHED: 06:55 04 February 2019

An artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich  Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDS

An artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDS

Oakley Orchards

A Harwich farmer has collaborated with a sustainable developer on a ground-breaking housing scheme on his land.

An artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich  Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDSAn artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDS

Plans for Oakley Orchards, at Great Oakley, have been given the green light by councillors and work is expected to start in spring.

The scheme is a joint venture between farmer Pete Thompson and Village Makers, with conditional planning permission granted for 51 houses on a nine acre site amid fruit orchards in the village.

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Village Makers was behind the award-winning custom-build sustainable development Wintles development in Shropshire.

The concept of ‘custom build’ is that it offers buyers many of the benefits of self-build but without the headache, and is seen as a potential solution to the UK housing shortage, with the concept backed by south Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who is involved in the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA), and initiatives aimed at creating neighbourhoods which encourage a sense of community.

An artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich  Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDSAn artist's impression of Oakley Orchards at Great Oakley, Harwich Picture: OAKLEY ORCHARDS

Purchasers will be able to choose their plot and house type, as well as a range of additional features such as sunspace, balcony or bay window, and the internal layout.

Bob Tomlinson of Village Makers said: “There are six designs to choose from, so the houses can’t really be described as bespoke.

“However, the interiors can be built to individual specifications, to suit the needs and tastes of the buyer. Internal floor areas range from 85sq m to 248sq m, and plot prices are expected to range from £50,000 to £310,000, with build prices starting in the region of £140,000.”

Pete Thompson, managing director of Thompsons Farm, was keen to get involved in an environmentally sensitive scheme.

“Every aspect of the design – from the open spaces, to the layout of the pathways and the location and orientation of the houses – is designed to encourage people to meet and talk to each other,” he said.

“There are also numerous green spaces, a communal herb garden and allotments, and a communal green to encourage community events. A forest school and village hall will be created as part of the development.

“Oakley Orchards is very much part of the village of Great Oakley with its active and friendly community, school, church, playing field, shop and community run pub, The Maybush.”

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