First underground home for Portishead

AN AMBITIOUS family man is hoping to build North Somerset’s first self-sufficient house in Portishead.

Mark Gauntlett, from Worle, has bought a plot of land off Clevedon Road, near Blackrock Villas, and has applied for planning permission to build a carbon neutral house into the Gordano Valley hillside.

The four-bedroom property - which was designed by Clifton-based architects Winsor and Leaman - will have solar panels, a turf roof to attract wildlife, triple-glazed windows and highly insulated walls. Water will be recycled and sewage treated with a biodigester.

Due to its innovative design, the owners have agreed to hold regular open days for colleges and schools so people can learn from and be inspired by the environmentally-friendly building.

Despite the house being almost invisible due to its underground plot, several people have raised objections to the property including concerns about access and building on green belt land.

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Mark, aged 30, who runs Heardy Cars taxi firm in Portishead, said: “We bought the land because we wanted to build a house from scratch and we wanted to do something unique.”

In response to the objections he added: “I can see why nearby residents are concerned about access as there have been a couple of accidents on the road, but we will be using the existing access, which is on the straight, whereas their access is on a corner.

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“It will have minimal impact to green belt land as it’s already in a residential area and in the middle of a cluster of 15 other buildings.

“We have agreed that schools and colleges can visit the house to show our gratitude to the community.”

North Somerset Council’s planning committee is due to make a decision on the planning application on September 21 and if it is given the green light, Mark hopes to start building straight away.

He said: “I’m hoping to manage the building work myself. I’ve never done anything like it before but I’m looking forward to it. Not many people get the opportunity to build their own home.”

If the plans go ahead, the family hope to be living in their new home by this time next year.

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