Hedgehog, Bevendean, Brighton, East Sussex
Self Build for rent of ten single storey houses on a steeply sloping site which 'backs' onto the South Downs - six no. three bed and four no. two bed units with south facing views and balconies.

Article by Michael Olden - a self builder nears completion!

The water was at last turned on in our house the other day and my partner Donna spent a happy 15 minutes flushing and re-flushing the toilet. Our first domestic sound!

In a fortnight we should be living in the house. We are just working our way through the snags, which seem to take an age. I think in one day we put up the frames for four of the houses but it’s just taken me 3 hours to fit a cupboard door.

I’ve enjoyed the experience of being part of a group building their own homes. It has taken rather longer than I had hoped but now were on the point of moving in that time has telescoped into nothing. After two and a half years it only works out at three months per house!

“Oh, you won't own them!” people are often shocked to find out. Well, self build for rent is really the only way people on low incomes will ever get to live in affordable, well built, beautiful houses. We haveall had a lot of input into the scheme and it’s been an empowering experience for us on many levels. After we have gone it is true that there shall not be the family mansion to pass on but I think we have passed on something much more valuable. The certain knowledge that you can do anything if you want to.

I am certainly now a convert to self build and I am shocked when people tell me they wouldn’t want to do it.

As I was taking my six year old daughter to school the other day, she solemnly declared “ Dad, when I’m a grown up I’m not going to build a wooden house.”
“Oh” I said, trying not to sound crest fallen.
“No,” she continued “I’m going to build a brick house and then I won't get splinters.”

Construction: Hedgehog Self Build Co-op
Developer: South London Family Housing Association (SLFHA)
Architect: Architype


Photos (from top): external view of balconies, Ben on ladder, a new kitchen

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