Damien Hirst to build 500 eco-homes

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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Damien Hirst has unveiled plans to build more than 500 eco-homes in Ilfracombe, Devon.

The modern artist – famous for his pickled shark – hopes to submit a planning application this summer for the site at Winsham Farm and start construction next year.

Hirst’s architect Mike Rundell of MRJ Rundell Associates revealed the plans this week at a council meeting.

The plans involve utilising land at Winsham Farm, which has been owned by Hirst for the past ten years, as well as nearby Channel Farm and Bowden Farm.

The North Devon Journal reported that Rundell told the meeting: “I’m a representative of Damien Hirst. He owns 40% of the land we are talking about.

“As you know, he is a very successful artist and has very high ambitions for this project. He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings. He wants these houses to be the kind of homes he would want to live in.”

Rundell said Hirst wants the development to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Ilfracombe and create a new gateway to the town.

He said: “Damien is a local developer. He lives locally, shops locally, owns local businesses and his children go to local schools.

“He cares about Ilfracombe and wants this project to have a positive effect on the town.

“He wants these buildings to be landmarks that will stand the test of time and create a blueprint for quality, environmentally sustainable developments across the country.

“Ilfracombe will be a pioneer and Damien is incredibly excited about it.”

Rundell said the houses would be modern in design and could incorporate state of the art environmental features such as photovoltaic panels, concealed wind turbines in the roofs and increased insulation.

He added that the success of the development would depend on the level of cooperation from North Devon Council in terms of a section 106 agreement.

He said: “If the council insists on a very high level of affordable housing within the development, the overall quality of the homes will drop.

“We believe that if you bring wealth, energy and business to a town like Ilfracombe, it will have far wider social benefits than simply, say, introducing a youth club.

“You have to ask yourself the question do you want cheap housing or do you want to attract business and money to allow the town to grow?”

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