Residents move into TV star's eco-homes in Swindon

The Triangle, Swindon
Image caption The new eco-development offers residents a shared community kitchen garden and car-share club

The first residents have moved into a new eco-development designed by TV presenter Kevin McCloud.

The Triangle, a 42-home scheme south of Swindon, is the Grand Designs presenter's first development.

He said the housing had been created to promote a sustainable lifestyle and a sense of community.

"Every resident here, we did interview quite rigorously about the values of the scheme but they all bought into it," said Mr McCloud.

Swindon Borough Council gave the green light for the development, off Northern Avenue in Swindon, in October 2009.

Construction of the terraced eco-homes, a "contemporary interpretation of Swindon's Victorian railway cottages", began in May 2010.

"We've got shared kitchen gardens rather then allotments. We've got a shared public space which everybody on the scheme collectively owns through a community trust and we've got a car-share club," said Mr McCloud.

"And instead of a hedge between each of the houses we've got a splayed apple tree with apples on it.

"Everything here that's public, is public and all we can do is put this stuff in and see what people do with it."

Facebook page

The joint venture between McCloud's company Hab and the housing group GreenSquare has been designed to "encourage people to spend more time outside" and to "socialise more".

"I thought it would actually have been harder to find people who really did understand and like the value of the scheme," said Mr McCloud.

"But residents have already started their own Facebook page, collectively, and have written their own manifesto and their own rule book about how fast they want cars to go.

"It's kind of great to see."

The development includes homes for intermediate rent, rent-to-homebuy and for affordable rent to local people registered with Swindon Borough Council.

Further developments are being planned in Stroud and Oxford and sites in Chippenham and Bristol are also being considered.

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