Category: News

An interview with the Watsons

When Gillian Watson and her husband David decided to relocate from Grimsby, where they had lived and worked for more than 30 years, to the Lake District, they found their new home at Wellbank.

Gillian, who is originally from Seascale, had long wanted to return to her home county and having taken early retirement after working as a performance manager at a local authority, it was an opportune time to look for their next home.

David, who works in finance for a leisure provider, had harboured a desire to self build and undertook a thorough search of available plots in Cumbria. But when he found the Wellbank development in the village of Bootle, run by Hugr homes, the couple decided the benefits of a sustainable custom-build home would be ideal.

After previously losing their deposit at a self-build site in Cumbria, Gillian and David were assured by the minimal risk of a custom-build home, the professionalism and support offered by the expert Hugr Homes team, as well as the wider vision of Wellbank being a community.

Of course, its spectacular location, on the edge of the village of Bootle in the Lake District National Park, was a vote winner.

“The description of the community that Wellbank would have and the village feel was what we wanted,” says Gillian.

The plot

After an 18-month search, during which time they looked at existing homes and self-build plots, Gillian and David decided Wellbank was right for them, selecting a plot that was slightly elevated, affording them beautiful views of the countryside.

Working with Hugr Homes means that you can opt for as much or as little support as you need.

For Gillian and David, they worked with Hugr’s timber frame partner Fleming Homes to design and specify the property that would work for them.

They chose a one-and-a-half storey, four-bedroom home and reconfigured the interior to suit their lifestyle and their needs.

They have also opted for a range of energy-efficient installations, including air source pump, triple glazing and under-floor heating.

“It was important to us that our new home should be as energy efficient as possible,” says Gillian.

The couple have ordered the timber frame and are in regular touch with their project manager to follow the progress being made.

As part of the support offered, Hugr has also introduced them to a number of recommended local companies that can advise on kitchen design and bathrooms.

The build

Once building starts, the couple hope to be enjoying their new home in just five months.

“This is such a great opportunity to own the type of home we have long wanted,” says Gillian. “Now we have committed to Wellbank, with buying the plot and tweaking the design, we’re ready to begin the process of the build, we’re excited about what’s to come.

“Joe Higginson and the team at Hugr and Fleming have been brilliant with their advice and we’re comfortable in the knowledge that we’ll finish with the beautiful, well-built house we can enjoy many years in.”

Why custom-build your home?

Custom build is designed to take away the fears, so even if DIY fills you with dread, it’s still a fantastic option.

The plots are already serviced with utilities laid to the boundary, so you simply select the house type that suits you best, and tailor your design from there.

Because it’s custom build, you can customise the internal layout to suit your needs. Although we have a design guide and an outline planning permission that we have to work to, there is plenty of scope for you to put your own stamp on your sustainable dream home.

We recommend our approved contractors as they can keep an updated cost budget, enabling you to plan accordingly as you consider alternative designs, layouts and specifications.

Ready for the custom-build route? Want to find out more?

Find out how Hugr Homes can get you on the custom-build ladder, from selecting your plot to mortgage advice, and contact our friendly, professional team today. Your dream home could be just a phone call away.

Build It award nomination for Wellbank

Hugr Homes’ Wellbank development has reached the shortlist for the Best Custom Build Model or Project category at the 2023 Build It Awards.

For over a decade, the Build It Awards have been the most coveted accolade in the self-build industry. Rigorous, impartial judging results in credibility for the winners. The annual event is all about celebrating every aspect of self-build and renovation, including completed projects, products, services and suppliers.

Phase one of the Wellbank Park development offers 18 custom build plots, ranging from three, four and five-bedroom detached houses and two and three-bedroom bungalows.

Located on the edge of the village of Bootle in the Lake District National Park, the development offers stunning views across the Western Fells with beaches and an array of beautiful landscapes just a few minutes away.

With reservations being taken and the first builds already taking place, buyers are able to choose their plot then design their home following the approved design guide, choosing external materials, internal layout and finishes.

Buyers will become a part of a new and thriving community, with the development offering spacious plots, cycleways and pathways. Future phases in planning will include a community hub which will have a swimming pool and other shared facilities.

Joe Higginson, Director of Hugr Homes commented:

“We are delighted to have reached the shortlist for this award. As a business, our vision is quite simple, by using our custom build model to help more people and communities to create their dream home just the way they want it.
Our team works incredibly hard with our clients to help them accomplish this and it is fantastic to see the results already coming to fruition on the Wellbank development.

This is an achievement that we are all very proud of.”

Winners will be announced on Friday 24 November.

Sales centre opening at Wellbank, Cumbria

Potential homebuyers can find out more about custom build at the opening of the sales centre at Wellbank Park, West Cumbria on 16 July from 1-4pm.

Guests will be welcomed to the development with a glass of fizz to celebrate the official launch of phase one of the site.

Representatives from Hugr Homes will be on hand to answer any questions and visitors can find out more about how they could custom build their dream home in this breath-taking location.

Phase one of the development consists of 18 custom build plots, ranging from three, four and five-bedroom detached houses and two and three-bedroom bungalows.

Those who are unable to make the Wellbank open afternoon can contact Hugr directly to arrange an alternative appointment.

The site address is Church Lane, Bootle, Cumbria, LA19 5TB.

For more information contact the Hugr Homes team today by emailing hello@hugrhomes.com or telephoning 07540 754153.

Custom build comes to West Cumbria

Prospective residents of a West Cumbrian village are putting their imaginations to work, designing individual custom build homes.

The idea of developing the Wellbank site, near Bootle, goes back to 2011 and the Bootle2020 plan, which was launched to try to attract new families to the area.

The 12.5-acre former Ministry of Defence site was tipped for development and gained outline planning permission from the Lake District National Park Authority for a mixture of 50 houses, a small hotel and a number of business units.

Final demolition and site enabling work for the project was completed last year and first phase plots for 18 Custom Build homes are now available. Four are already reserved.

Planning rules stipulate that the houses have to be people’s primary residence, rather than a second home, and it is hoped construction of the first houses will begin by autumn 2022.

The site is owned by FNS limited, which is working with Wilmslow-based company Hugr Homes Ltd, a specialist of custom-build homes that is project manager for Wellbank and will deliver the homes.

Hugr Homes is now in the final stages of agreeing with the national park the basic types of houses it can offer, although the home owners will be able to choose from a number of options to make their home unique.

“We’ll have a design guide approved by the planners and that will set out the parameters for how each house will look,” says Joe Higginson, owner and director of Hugr Homes. “What that gives you is a bit of a continuity of house types on the site.”

When buyers purchase their plot of land, they will work with Hugr to ensure any changes or adaptations to the design are within the terms agreed with the national park. These might include altering the materials and design and internal layout or spending more money on features such as extra insulation, solar batteries or air source heat pumps.

“Obviously now you’ve got a lot more working from home and flexible working,” says Joe.

“Whereas pre-Covid you might have just had a spare bedroom, people are now wanting something designed to be more specifically a home office.”

When it comes to the cost of a custom-build home, people are often surprised how cost-effective it can be: a plot costs from £100,000 to £125,000, with the build cost extra on top of that.

“Roughly speaking you should work on the assumption you will spend probably the same amount of money you would usually spend buying an equivalent house, but it will probably be built better, specified better and will fit your needs better,” says Joe.

He says the attractions of the national park, plus the draw of big employers such as BAE, in Barrow, and the nuclear industry surrounding Sellafield mean there has been no lack of interest.

“You’ve got the benefits of the Lake District National Park without perhaps some of the disadvantages of being in some of the more busy areas,” says Joe, who is also building homes near Kirkham and Great Eccleston, in Lancashire. “You’ve obviously got the beaches five or 10 minutes away. The Western Lakes is just a fantastic location.”

Not only is Wellbank a site of sustainable, timber-framed homes, it is also a community with cycleways and pathways, while particular attention has been paid to the open space, for people to meet and for children to play safely, and circulation routes, with wide pathways linking its separate parts.

Hugr Homes has created a detailed SuDS (sustainable draining system). This type of system is both efficient and environmentally beneficial because it minimises or eliminates long-term detrimental damage. Not only do SuDS mimic natural draining systems, capturing rainwater and allowing it to soak into underground permeable areas, they also help to create attractive wildlife habitats.

Last year the Government commissioned an independent review into the state of custom- and self-build housing in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying: “Self-build and custom-build housing can play a crucial role for consumers and ensuring people can live in the homes that they want, and that are designed to meet their needs.”

About 13,000 houses are built in this way in the UK each year, making it collectively the fourth or fifth biggest source of housing when ranked alongside other house builders.

“As a model it is something that the Government is trying to encourage,” says Joe. “If you go into Europe, lots of people custom-build their own house. It’s only in the UK, really, where we’re a bit different and we tend to buy our new houses from the big house builders. In the future, the Government is definitely looking to boost this part of the housing market and we aim to play our part in delivering these higher-quality homes.”

For more information contact the Hugr Homes team today by emailing hello@hugrhomes.com or telephoning 07540 754153.

Developer and manufacturer form unique partnership

Guest blog by Sarah Mathieson, managing director of Fleming Homes

A UK specialist in custom built homes has joined forces with a leading manufacturer of timber frame properties for a unique development in the Lake District.

Hugr Homes, which is based in the North-West of England, with its private equity partner FNS, is behind Wellbank, a 50-plot development on land on the edge of the village of Bootle, in West Cumbria, with views of the Western fells.

As part of its aims to create a development of eco-friendly and sustainable homes, it has partnered with Fleming Homes, which is based in the Scottish Borders and has more than 35 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of bespoke, timber frame homes.

Joe Higginson, founder and managing director of Hugr Homes, said: “We were keen to work with a timber frame company to help the process for the buyers of plots at Wellbank and it was clear that Fleming Homes had the right product and the experience in this sector.

“The Fleming Homes team will provide guidance and expertise to plot buyers to help in the design and specification of their homes in this beautiful part of the Lake District National Park, which is just 10 minutes from the Cumbrian coast.”

Custom build is ideal for people who want to create their own home with minimal risk because it enables them to have control of the design and specification to suit them and their budget, while benefiting from the expertise of a developer.

Hugr Homes offers a range of plots with planning permission and ensures buyers can create homes that are thermally efficient and sustainable.

The timber frame super structures are quick to erect – the average four-bed family home can be erected to wind and watertight in two to three weeks – which results in considerable efficiencies when it comes to managing build schedules.

Modern methods of construction and offsite manufacture also ensure homes are produced within a factory environment to exacting standards.

At Wellbank, both companies have designed a range of homes to suit the site and because their approach is flexible, buyers have multiple options to achieve their ideal home.

“Custom building your own home can seem a little more daunting than it really is, but we help to make the process as smooth as possible,” said Joe.

“If you buy a new home in the UK, your choice is limited to the designs the national house builders decide you should have, but with custom build, the buyer is in charge of room layouts, specifications and the green and smart elements to boost the eco credentials.

“It’s far more economical than many people believe and they may be surprised to find a custom-build option is well within their budget. It’s an option that is well-established across Europe and we want to see the UK catch up.”

Wellbank, which is about one mile away from Bootle railway station and less than half an hour from Broughton in Furness, will be one of the largest custom build schemes in the UK, with 18 plots available in phase one.

As well as accommodating bungalows and detached houses on spacious plots, the site will also have cycleways and pathways and particular attention is being paid to the open space and circulation routes, with wide pathways linking separate parts of the site.

Hugr Homes is already in discussions with interested buyers from as far away as London, while two plots of the first phase are already reserved.

Sarah Mathieson, managing director of Fleming Homes, said: “We both align on the idea of helping more people live in higher quality homes. What Fleming Homes is keen to do is open-up the possibility of self and custom-building as a real option to more people to achieve more low-carbon, energy efficient, quality homes.

“It’s about giving more choice for homeowners to live their lives in homes that meet their aspirations for living and in homes that are ultimately fit for the future.”

For more information of timber frame, contact Fleming Homes by emailing hello@fleminghomes.co.uk or telephoning 01361 883785.