Outline Planning granted!

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Thurston Garden
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Outline Planning granted!

Post: #190942 Thurston Garden
Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:42 pm

Hoorah! After 7 months, I have had the nod from the Council for Outline Planning for my house. Off to meet the architect next week to discuss the design of a straw bale one, possibly off (or atleast minimal connection to) grid.

I thought I would speak to Ecology Building Society to see what mortgage might be available so I could bottom out my build budget. I did them a fairly detailed email explaining that I was plannning straw bale construction, probably off grid, outlining my likely budget, salary and equity. Here's their reply:

Thank you for the enquiry
If you would like to discuss please call us on 01535 650770.
Not quite clear on your project,However our income multiples are as follows- 60% loan to value = 3.5 x income
80% 3 x income
85% 3.5 x income


Nothing more, nothing less....

I rang them just now and after being put on hold for a while, a polite lady came and said my house must have good insulation and not have any pvc windows otherwise I would not qualify. She walso asked my what the house was worth now. :banghead: Hardly a good start....

I rang the Co-op, but hit a brick wall. No strawbale lending there which was surprise in a way.

I will have to have a trawl for other lenders, but would be interested if anyone can think of any!

Ta.
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #190947 Annpan
Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:17 pm

Yay! for planning permission :cheers:

As for lenders........ do Triodos do a mortgage?... I'd imagine you will be very limited as to who will lend on a strawbale house. Maybe you could try asking on Green Building Forum http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk (but I think you need to pay to be a member of that)
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #191142 marshlander
Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:22 pm

Hmmm. Ecology building soc would have seemed to be the obvious choice. They provided the mortgage for the straw bale house in Wales that won the Graqnd Designs eco build catagory.

Given that they've not actualy replied to your enquiry - just sent the standard reply - do the figures add up? Do you meet their criteria?
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #191175 Thurston Garden
Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:47 am

I am struggling to find another lender although I have not used a broker yet. Ecology seem a good choice but I was very disappointed with their response. It was clear the lady had not read my email, nor even had the courtesy to do a properly constructed, nor accurate reply. No Dear Mr TG, nor a name at the bottom. Surely Ecology would never have written a letter to a prospective customer in that format so why do they think its good practice to put out an email like that? Maybe I am just old fashioned!

My phone conversation with them was much more fruitful, eventually. It's a wee bit of a chicken and egg situation. Without a house value, they cant say what they would lend as the income multipliers are different for the loan to value ratios. So, do I come up with a design, get it valued on paper and then discover that the LTV is too high to get the cash to construct it? Some head scratching required me thinks!
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #191190 TheGoodEarth
Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:44 pm

Have you tried http://www.buildstore.co.uk/ They are specialists in self build finance and used to have some great products that advanced you money before each stage, however I think they have been hit hard by the recession and now offer far fewer products. Well worth a try though.

You should be able to put a value on your final house by looking at what similar sized houses have sold for near where you plan to build. http://www.nethouseprices.com/index.php ... use-Prices If you are building 3 bed detached bungalow and one sold recently in the same road then that is a good guide.

The fact it is straw bale should not make a difference, this is just insulation. Your house will still need to pass building regs just like a Barratt new build would so a lender should not have any issues with that.

I wouldn't mention that you plan to go off grid as this will cause issues. Anyway it is much better to be on grid for emergencies. Being connected makes it a 'normal' house and banks like normal. Just because you are connected doesn't mean you have to use it.

Good luck.
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #191217 JulieSherris
Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:42 pm

I have no advice to offer whatsoever!

I just wanted to say Well Done You for getting the planning permission in the first place! :cheers:
I love the look of some of the straw bale houses that are on the web - I just wish we had the time/resources/willing hubby to do the same!
The more people I meet, the more I like my garden :wink:

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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #191458 sortanormalish
Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:38 pm

Here in the US it is very hard to get a lender for load bearing strawbale. But, if the strawbale is only insulation and wall forming (not load bearing) we can get funding for a pole frame house just by having it drawn up properly (choose a good firm or someone local the bank trusts) and estimated by a builder (same). Electrical inspections are the worst.

But at least you are getting permissions, that implies there is a lender somewhere.
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #195924 Lincolnshirelass
Mon May 10, 2010 7:12 pm

Congratulations!

We're in the middle of a housebuild ourselves - we chose the carbon-bastard method to high insulation values and are building with Insulated Concrete Formwork (now we're living in it I find it hard to regret the decision as it's very toasty and warm!). Whilst ICF is a million miles away from straw bale, I can guarantee that we had just as many raised eyebrows from the mortgage companies...

The way that we got around the Loan-to-value problem was to find something *similar* and value that. Most valuers will leap at any help in the process, and as long as your guestimate is realistic, they are often happy to be lead by the nose.

If it's any help, I'm playing at the opening of the first strawbale council housing in the country on Friday - Waddington in Lincolnshire, as built by Amazonails. They are valued at £70,000 for a very mainstream house. The council (North Kesteven District Council) is pretty proud of them, and would probably be more than happy to talk about them a lot ;-)

We ended up getting a mortgage through Buildstore, but I've not been particularly happy with how they've performed - I think a mortgage is a mortgage, however you look at it :-( Pick up a copy of "Homebuilding and Renovating" (if you don't alredy subscribe - I'm guessing you probably do!) and try all the numbers in their mortgage section.

Good luck - I don't regret ours at all, although I do wish it had eaten slightly less than five years of my life!
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196153 Thurston Garden
Wed May 12, 2010 12:13 pm

Thanks for the tips! I have now had my first meeting with the architect and builder. I am having an open book contract with the builder (the architect's husband who is also an architect...yes I know it sounds cosy, but I am comfortable with it and they both have experience of load bearing straw bale and are very like minded).

So far I have asked to include the following into a sketch plan I have had in my head for years:

1. South facing raised platform on telegraph poles to construct house
2. Living accommodation mainly open plan to front of building (south)
3. Sleeping/bathroom/study to the rear (north)
4. Pantry outwith strawbale envelope in north east corner
5. Compost 'thunderbox style' toilet with urine seperator to soakaway
6. PV electics to predominantly 12v circuits. Inverter required for feed to grid and washing machine
7. Resused/reclaimed items where possible i.e. telegraph poles for pier foundation, timber flooring, doors, kitchen furniture, sinks
8. Veranda on front of building to reduce summer sun and provide outdoor seating
9. Central spine wall constructed of exposed reclaimed bricks to act as heat sink

No doubt my wish list will continue as the plans progress and my reading and research continues!
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196161 Green Aura
Wed May 12, 2010 12:23 pm

Can I come and live with you? :lol:
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196171 Thurston Garden
Wed May 12, 2010 12:38 pm

In a live in house keeper sort of way? :icon_smile:
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196177 JulieSherris
Wed May 12, 2010 12:46 pm

And did you say that you needed a scullery maid too?? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :lol:
The more people I meet, the more I like my garden :wink:

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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196180 Thurston Garden
Wed May 12, 2010 2:02 pm

Good Lord the offers are rolling in!

Consideration would also be given to:

A grease monkey to keep my decrepit landrover on the road
A muscly gardener (undersized cut-off shorts will be issued on appointment)
A Gentlemans Gentleman
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Re: Outline Planning granted!

Post: #196202 Green Aura
Wed May 12, 2010 6:24 pm

Down boy! :lol: :lol:
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