Graven Hill – the future of self-build in the UK?
A few weeks ago, team edge organised a field trip to explore Graven Hill in Bicester – the largest development offering self-build and custom build opportunities in the UK. As this unique site has received a lot of attention from the public, as well as the press, we were interested to experience the development for ourselves to see what we could learn from this exciting new scheme.
The Future of Self-Build in the UK?
Graven Hill is a great starting point for promoting self-build developments within the UK, and while there are certainly some positives we can take away from the site, there are also some key learnings to be made. The development is a unique champion for creativity and freedom, however it highlights the importance of a robust design code for self-build sites – where individual plot owners are not considering the overall site context. More guidance needs to be provided with regards to proportions, dwelling height, style and materials, to ensure cohesion and consistency. Graven Hill is fun and exciting, as you never know what is going to be around the corner, however it is disjointed and lacks character areas that promote community and harmony, and instead feels like a novelty instead of a place where many people call home.
Considering recent events, our homes are now working harder than ever, and the importance of a space that caters to our ever-evolving lifestyles is becoming an increasing priority. For many of us, generic new-build homes don’t provide us with exactly what we want or need, in terms of function or design, and self-build plots are the ideal solution for those with specific requirements that simple renovation work won’t cover. However, Graven Hill proves that these individual plots still need an element of supervision from somebody who’s priority it is to oversee the harmony of the development as a whole. Graven Hill is a great starting point, but we’re not sure it should be considered as the blueprint for self-build developments in the UK just yet.
Written by Greta