Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

91 custom build homes on this zero energy development…


  • This project will deliver 91 custom build homes and aims to be the first commercially viable zero energy development of its type in the UK.
  • The project is the brainchild of project manager Charles Everard and eco-architect Bill Dunster, and will be delivered by a joint venture development company called Cornerstone ZED – set up by Charles and Tim Byles.
  • The development will be built on a seven acre site to the north of Plymouth, overlooking Dartmoor, close to the village of Roborough.


  • 91 serviced plots are to be laid out around a village green and wood, with a mixture of custom build, shared ownership, affordable housing and housing for sale. There will also be a green business ‘hub’ established as part of the overall development.
  • People select their preferred plot and can either:
    • order one of the standard full house kit homes that are available; the team behind the project can then get the whole ‘package’ built for them;
    • commission a more individual custom build home – the ‘kit’ homes on offer are flexible so there are a number of size, layout and finish options (though the design will still have to comply with some design guidelines that cover the whole site).

    Those that get involved will also secure a share of the community facilities, green car club and assembly building that are planned – all of which will be run by a community interest company.

  • All the homes will be timber framed and insulated to 0.15 W/m2K, with solar photovoltaic (PV) and a ‘heat hub’ making use of the heat from the solar loft for hot water. All the houses will be fitted with a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) system. This combination should result in net zero energy bills.
  • A single contractor has been lined up to put in all the roads and other infrastructure.
  • Around 300 people have already expressed an interest in the project, and regular meetings are now being held with those that want to be part of the first phase of 30 homes.


  • The houses vary in size, and the final prices have yet to be confirmed but a typical three bedroom eco-home is likely to cost around £185-195,000. A five bed home will cost around £330,000.


  • Full planning permission granted – February 2013
  • Start on site expected – July 2014
  • First homes completed – early 2015

Learning Points:

  • Securing development funding for innovative projects requires development experience.
  • The construction and finance industry is cautious and developers need to demonstrate high levels of demand (as they have here) before finance becomes available.
  • The marketing of a new development like this is also complex and requires considerable resources.

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