“By practical example, to act as a catalyst for change towards ecologically sound and sustainable ways of living.” That’s an excerpt from Hockerton Housing Project’s (HHP) 1995 Mission Statement. The designers of Howgate Close for twenty-four years have been living an autonomous lifestyle in the UK’s largest collection of earth-sheltered dwellings.
“The Hockerton Housing Project is the UK’s first earth-sheltered self-sufficient ecological housing development. The residents of the five houses generate their own clean energy, harvest their own water and recycle waste materials, causing no pollution or CO2 emissions. The houses are still amongst the most energy efficient purpose-built dwellings in Europe.”
HHP was formally opened on October 27th 1998 by Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP, the then Construction Minister, he said;
“This housing development represents a truly innovative approach in constructing new homes using sustainable techniques and materials in a way which is building a real community spirit.”
Another visitor, HRH the Duke of Gloucester, remarked that HHP…
“…..is built on sound scientific theory put into good practice”
It was the Vale’s Southwell home that inspired The Hockerton Housing Project. Nick Martin, a Nottinghamshire builder, had undertaken the construction of the Vale’s Southwell home in 1994 and was subsequently inspired to build his own self-sufficient housing project, what emerged was HHP.
In 1996 Newark and Sherwood District Council granted Planning Permission. Summing up the recommendations to the Planning Committee, the Planning Officers report stated:-
“This scheme has considered all elements of the development and has shown how they can be carried out in a sustainable way.
In the words of Hockerton’s architects, Professors Brenda and Robert Vale, HHP is;
“…design(ed) for a life estimated in centuries rather than decades.”