Woman who said ‘not in my back yard’ to new homes builds her own instead

PUBLISHED: 10:33 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 22:47 30 October 2019

Fran Bradshaw and Paul Lambert, who is an estate agent from Aldreds, selling the houses. Pic: Archant

Fran Bradshaw and Paul Lambert, who is an estate agent from Aldreds, selling the houses. Pic: Archant

When architect Fran Bradshaw heard about plans to build new houses next to her home she decided to take nimbyism to a whole new level.

Work going on to build the houses at Hickling. Pic: submittedWork going on to build the houses at Hickling. Pic: submitted

Fran, who lives in The Green, Hickling, near Acle, wanted to design houses which enhanced the village and helped the environment.

So she bought the plot herself and designed two 'passivhaus' energy-efficient homes which are currently being built.

Fran - a partner with a London architecture firm - is no stranger to a battle as five years ago she had to fight to get the plot and the type of house built to live in herself. She won and built her thatched passivhaus which combines traditional styles and cutting-edge technology.

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Fran Bradshaw's own passivhaus next door. Pic: Hannah DevereuxFran Bradshaw's own passivhaus next door. Pic: Hannah Devereux

"A developer put in a planning application for houses which, in my opinion, were horrible and price maximising and I was cross about it," she said. "I thought 'was that really what people wanted?' So I matched the offer to buy the plot and have designed two semi-detached houses.

"The houses will have rendered walls and pantiled roofs, are L-shaped, each with three double bedrooms, around 11,000 sqft of accommodation and outside, will have parking and gardens."

The houses will use sheep's wool and old newspapers as part of the insulation and the entire structures, which come from Poland, have each piece numbered so they are assembled like a big jigsaw puzzle.

Just like the award-winning passivhaus homes in Goldsmith Street, Norwich, the properties offer huge savings on energy bills for the occupants with the technology used keeping the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter.

Fran Bradshaw and agent Paul Lambert. Pic: ArchantFran Bradshaw and agent Paul Lambert. Pic: Archant

"These really are the houses everyone should be building." Fran added. "They give people a very even temperature. People are seeing it works with sensible, long-term savings."

It's taken local, specialist builders, Sam Layte and Stuart MacCallum only nine weeks to get the houses almost finished in basic structure with the project managed by Georg Herrmann, Fran's partner, who has helped her throughout. One house looks out over The Green and enjoys the sun setting and the other looks out over the rear of the plot to countryside.

But Fran is keen to involve an interested buyer at this stage, so that the homes can be completed bespoke to someone's wishes. So, the houses are being offered for sale for £310,000 each, unfinished or £350,000, completed, with agents Aldreds.

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