An aspiring home builder believes his plans for an ambitious ‘eco home’ at an abandoned farm in Hoxne, if approved, would be one of the only properties of its type in the whole of the UK.
Chris Burnard, owner of The Greyhound pub in Botesdale and a plumber by trade, is confident his proposal, intended for the site of the derelict Chestnut Tree Farm in Denham Road, would be the first Suffolk residence to achieve Code 6, the highest possible classification for sustainability, as its application to Mid Suffolk Council enters the home stretch.
Mr Burnard, who has dabbled in home renovation but never a new build before, said: “The idea is to do something that’s a step forward, something spectacularly new for the area.
“Especially with the way houses are going, we were definitely keen on using sustainable materials and renewables.”
Currently a South Lopham resident, Mr Burnard bought the 2.5-acre plot for £85,000 back in 2007, in an auction at Diss agents TW Gaze.
The main farm house was in disrepair, having been abandoned since 1965, and had lost residency status despite being a listed building.
Mr Burnard’s design for a new replacement dwelling, created along with Cheshire-based Hunter Architects, intends to incorporate solar panels, a ground source heat pump, wood burning stove, heat recovery systems and efficient lighting, plus vertical thatch insulation previously used in the Netherlands, but never the UK.
If approved, he expects the build to take a year and £400,000 to complete, and estimates energy costs to be around £700 a year.
He said the response from the consultation period, which was mostly but not totally positive, was not surprising due of the unusual design.
“We’re going for something more contemporary and not bog-standard,” he said.
“The more bland you make something, the wider the appeal, but if you make something a bit quirkier, it creates more discussion.
“Obviously, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.”
Mr Burnard also said that this will be a “one-off project for a one-off site” and did not have plans to try and duplicate it. He added that he would wait to assess his financial situation before deciding if he would live in the home or sell it on.