A tour of six self-build properties took place on Exmoor in June, to help young people interested in building their own home in the National Park.
The event was organised by Exmoor National Park Authority, the local planning authority, and the charity Exmoor Young Voices and involved visiting a variety of properties in Wheddon Cross, Cutcombe, Hoe Farm and Exton.
The young people, who all live and work on Exmoor, were shown the variety of ways a self-build home can be achieved through different methods of construction and design.
“We would like to thank the homeowners who gave up their time to talk to the Young Voices and answer their questions on the whole process of self-build,” said William Lock, Chair of Exmoor Young Voices.
The group also received advice from Dean Kinsella, Exmoor National Park Authority Head of Planning and Sustainable Development, and Tessa Saunders, Senior Planning Officer, about planning and potential opportunities for self-build within Exmoor communities.
Mr Kinsella said: “With the generally higher cost of housing in National Parks, it can be difficult for people to find homes that are both affordable and close to work and family. Our Local Plan aims to help local people get on the housing ladder by enabling self-build homes where suitable homes aren’t available on the open market.
“Through our work with Exmoor Young Voices we aim to guide young people through the planning process to help them decide early on whether a self-build is a realistic opportunity to provide them with the home they need.”
Since the introduction of specialist affordable housing policies in 2005, over 200 local people have benefited from new locally tied affordable homes built in the National Park. Some have been self-build, some delivered by private developers or landlords and others by housing associations.
Earlier this year, National Parks England called on the Government to increase the total stock of affordable housing for families and young people in National Parks through additional financial support, restrictions on holiday and second homes and greater support to empower communities.
Samantha Harris, Exmoor Young Voices Coordinator, said: “Our next meeting when we will explore sites, finance and planning further is going to be at The Rest and Be Thankful, Wheddon Cross, on 11 July at 7.30pm. To book a place email me at , find us on Facebook or just turn up.”
PHOTO: Members of Exmoor Young Voices tour a timber-framed straw-bale self-build built under ENPA’s affordable housing policy and featured in the current issue of Exmoor Magazine.