Tag Archives: Martyn Holmes

Bunker Housing Co-op starts work on its first houses

An affordable, secure home is something that can seem out of reach for too low income many families in Brighton & Hove. But Bunker Housing Co-operative is making that dream a reality as it starts building its first two houses, in East Brighton. Bunker celebrated on Saturday 8 December, alongside its investors and supporters and members of Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT).

Bunker members are self-building their houses, with the help of architects, and other construction professionals. They are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. Run as a co-operative, the rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home. The co-operative will own the houses, which will be on a site leased from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Any residents will be members of the co-op and both landlords and tenants.

Watch this short video for more on the Bunker story

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Brighton families start work on self-build project costing £225,000 a house

15 November 2018

Photo opportunity: Bunker Housing Co-operative celebration event
Saturday 8 December 2018, 2.00-5.00pm. The Edge Community Centre, 83 Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton, BN2 9AE. Arrive by 2.15pm for the opportunity to see the Bunker site
on Plumpton Road, a five-minute walk away.
There will be food and drinks.

Bunker Housing Co-op has begun self-building its first affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families on its first site in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. The rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

Bunker encourages others to sign up to the Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register to show the demand for this kind of project in the city.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker have started building their homes using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

Martyn Holmes and his partner Agata Bogacka, who live in Brighton with their two children, co-founded Bunker with another family in 2014. They had spent five years trying to find ways to secure affordable housing in the city. The idea developed as they chatted with their neighbours over the garden fence. Living in damp, cramped and overpriced private rented accommodation, both families, despite working full time, were struggling and fed up with their housing situation.

Bunker have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). They have a 99-year lease and are making use of a difficult site that a commercial developer wouldn’t be attracted to. They are working with architects from AURAA Studio in London, who have experience in smaller sights, specialise in bespoke sustainable architectural design and most importantly understand and enjoy the challenge of working on community-led developments.

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is encouraging people who support projects like Bunker to join the local Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register with Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Registering is a good way of improving the chances for Brighton residents to self/custom build their own homes.

People in England have the Right to Build, as set out by legislation announced in 2015 and updated in 2016. The Right to Build requires all councils to maintain a register of individual and groups of individuals who want to build their own home. It places a duty on them to grant sufficient development permissions for serviced building plots to meet demand on a rolling three-year basis.

BHCLT is a central resource for community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, including housing co-operatives, cohousing and self-build projects, developed through local people working together. Our work to support community-led housing is being supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund.

Bunker, whose members are low income, mostly self-employed people in Brighton & Hove, now have eight adult members, along with several children. They hope to acquire a second site soon, in order to expand their project and house more of their members, all of whom are currently living in private rented accommodation.

Martyn Holmes, Bunker co-founder and soon to be Plumpton Road resident said, “Bunker has given us a way out of the private rented sector which is increasingly unaffordable for so many people in Brighton. We believe that building our own community-led and owned housing is the best housing solution for our families and will allow us to stay in the city that we have helped to build. It’s been a tough journey in many ways, but it’s definitely been worthwhile, we are really excited to move into our new homes later this year and get cracking on the second site.”

Andrea Jones, Programme Manager for the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme said, “Bunker is such an inspiring project and shows what people can do when they work together.

“You don’t need to have construction experience to do something like this; there are building projects out there led by all sorts of people, including groups of women, and people with learning disabilities.  There is loads of support available through BHCLT and nationally. People have got to start signing up for the self-build register if they want to see things change. It shows the demand that is out there for self-build plots of land.”

Registration for the Brighton & Hove City Council’s (BHCC) Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Register can be done via their website at: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/housing/general-housing/self-build-and-custom-housebuilding-register

More information about self-build community led housing and how to join the register can be found at: http://bit.ly/SelfBuildBH

For more information and to arrange local interviews with self-builders, or members of Bunker Housing Co-operative, contact Amy Hall, BHCLT Communications Officer on comms@bhclt.org.uk

 Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 280 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. Announced in 2016, a national Community Housing Fund of £60 million was shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT in October 2017, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.
  3. The ‘Right to Build’ places two legal obligations on Local Authorities in England:
    1. Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 all Local Authorities in England must keep a register of people and groups of people who are seeking to purchase serviced plots of land in the authority’s area and to have regard to that register when carrying out their functions. Registers were required from 1st April 2016.
    2. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 requires all Local Authorities in England to grant sufficient ‘development permissions’ to meet the demand for Custom and Self-build housing in their area, as established by their register, on a rolling basis. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 1 April 2016 to 31 October 2016 should be granted by 31 October 2019. Permissions equivalent to the number of people on the register from 31 October 2016 to 31 October 2017 should be granted by 31 October 2020 and so on.
Please follow and like us:

Bunker is on site! Time to celebrate

We are so excited that one of the housing co-operatives we have been working with as part of the Community-Led Housing Programme has started work on its first two houses. We will be celebrating on Saturday 8 December, 2.00pm at The Edge Community Centre in Brighton. Sign up at Eventbrite to join us.

Bunker Housing Co-op is a self-build co-operative, building affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families and individuals. Their first site is on Plumpton Road in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. They are due to be able to move in by summer 2019 with a rent of just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. They have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

How to raise money through loanstock

Loanstock is a great way for people to invest in grassroots co-operative projects and for community-led housing projects to raise money using repayable loans from individuals or other organisations. Join Martyn Holmes, co-founder of Bunker Housing Co-operative on Saturday 10 November to find out more about how.

Bunker Housing Co-operative has raised over £75,000 through loanstock and are about to start work on their first two houses. Hear from Martyn about how they did it and his tips for people wanting to do the same.

The second part of the workshop will involve local housing groups discussing and sharing ideas on raising loanstock, including how to work together.

This free workshop will take place on Saturday 10 November, 1.15-5.00pm in the community room of The Bevy Pub, 50 Hillside, Brighton, BN2 4TF.

Please make sure you book your place in advance here at Eventbrite as there are limited places. The workshop is free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Introduction to self-build for community-led housing video

On Saturday 17 March, Mario Wolf (National Custom & Self Build Association, Right to Build Taskforce) and Martyn Holmes (Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op) & Raphael Lee (architect for Bunker Housing Co-op, Auraa Studio architecture) gave an introduction to self-build for community-led housing.

Mario Wolf discussed the Right to Build Task Force and the national self-build picture and what it means for community-led housing groups. Martyn Holmes & Raphael Lee talked about community self build and Bunker housing co-op collectively self-building their homes in Brighton. Watch the full workshop below

(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the youtube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle) Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Introduction to self-build workshop

Are you considering building a community-led housing project from scratch? Join us for a free workshop on Saturday 17 March in Brighton.

Group self build schemes can result in significant cost savings – sometimes as much as 40%. It also means you can have a say in creating the wider community. If your community-led housing group is thinking about this option then join us to hear from:

Places are limited to 20 people. The deadline for registering is 14 March. Email admin@bhclt.org.uk to find out more and sign up.

Please follow and like us:

Community-Led Housing Programme launch video

If you missed the launch of our Community-Led Housing Programme on Wednesday 21 February, you can now watch all the speakers here.

The panel consisted of: Andrea Jones, Programme Manager; Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean; Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally; and Martyn Holmes of Brighton’s Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op

Watch the video of the presentations below. The slides are available to download underneath.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Brighton & Hove is ready for more community-led housing

Over 200 people filled the Brighthelm Centre on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of our Community-Led Housing Programme.

With support from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is supporting local people who want to start their own community-led housing projects, including co-operatives, cohousing and self-build.

We want more truly affordable and stable housing in the city, with more people gaining control over their housing situation. The enthusiasm at Wednesday’s event showed that we’re not alone.

Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners, gave a useful overview of the national picture for community-led housing, including examples of exciting projects such as LILAC, a cohousing community of 20 eco houses in Leeds and OWCH, a group of women over 50 who have created their own community in a purpose-built block of flats in North London.

Stephen introduced the idea of ‘market disrupters’. ‘Communities are spending huge amounts of their time trying to put together housing projects that nobody else will,’ he said. ‘The fact that people like you are here today is some kind of witness to the fact that policy and the market has failed so many people.’

For him, part of the excitement around community-led housing is that the unexpected always happens. ‘Every project has a little bit of magic in it,’ he said. ‘You give people the opportunity to do something amazing and all sorts of bits of creativity and innovation come to the fore – things that you can never possibly imagine would happen.’

Anne Meadows

Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, paid tribute to what the city has already achieved: ‘In some respects I feel it’s national thinking that has caught up with Brighton & Hove,’ she said. ‘We have had an innovative and active community-led housing sector for many, many years.’

In recent years, Martyn Holmes of Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op has been one of the people behind that innovation. He told the story of Bunker’s beginnings – two neighbours chatting over the garden fence, both living in private rented housing that they were struggling to afford and fed up with their housing situation. Along with their families, they are soon to start work on two modular houses in Brighton, making use of a small and difficult site that a big developer wouldn’t be attracted to.

Martyn Holmes

For Bunker, part of the reason for choosing a self-build project was the money they would save. Martyn explained that group self-build schemes can result in cost savings of up to 40% or more. ‘It is hard, but it is worth doing,’ he said and urged others not to give up, particularly as the Community-Led Housing Programme could help reduce some of the barriers that Bunker experienced early on.

Housing groups get to know each other

Stephen also emphasised that the rewards will come eventually. ‘You shouldn’t underestimate the difficulties,’ he said. ‘If you’re going to do this it will take over your life… but I’ve never met anybody who regretted it.’

Community-led housing is not just about building homes from scratch, as our Programme Manager, Andrea Jones, explained. ‘The problem with housing in this country is not just about supply and numbers of houses, it’s about the unequal distribution of it,’ she said.

Andrea explained that people are beginning to think about housing differently, going against the instinct that people should follow the trajectory of buying their own place, or renting somewhere with boundaries from others. ‘If we can open the debate up about how it’s possible to live and how it’s possible to live well then we can release some of the housing stock that isn’t used well or imaginatively,’ said Andrea.

Throughout 2018 we will be working to raise awareness about the potential of community-led housing for Brighton & Hove, as well as holding more events and practical workshops for groups at all stages of the journey.

Do you want to keep up to date with our news and events? Sign up to the BHCLT mailing list here.

Find out more about the Community-Led Housing Programme here.

A video from the launch will be published on our website over the coming weeks.

Photos: Tim Andrews and others.

Please follow and like us: