Garden pods could help ease housing crisis
With planning regulations being relaxed and a generation of young people unable to find a home of their own, an enterprising Cornish inventor thinks he might have hit on a solution.
Max Marshall, from Bude, has designed and built a tough, versatile pod which he hopes will soon be popping up in back gardens everywhere. The 22-year-old believes his Eco Hubb buildings, made from sustainable materials and erected without the need for foundations, offer an alternative to the caravan at the bottom of the garden.
The former Budehaven School student, who has been joined in the enterprise by his father, Stuart, and builders Vernon and James Bright, recently completed a prototype.
"I hope the Eco Hubb is an inspiring example of the type of compact, affordable buildings we will be seeing a lot more of in the future," he said. "We envisage them being used as semi-permanent accommodation for young adults who cannot afford to buy or rent their own homes. And by siting them in family gardens they could offer a relatively cheap and effective solution to this growing problem."
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Max came up with the idea while working as a chef in a French ski resort. Originally he imagined it would offer alternative accommodation for winter sports fans – but back home in Cornwall family and friends encouraged him to develop its use. So with funding from Bude-based Blanchminster Trust and the Prince's Trust, he gathered a team to take the project forward.
"Because of its shape and pre-fabricated modular design, it can be sited almost anywhere and is suitable as a garden room, office, gym, spare bedroom or self-contained accommodation."
Max, who has generated interest from campsites, is planning to exhibit his £14,995 Eco Hubb at national design shows next year.
"I'm incredibly proud of the design – and I'm grateful to the Blanchminster Trust and Prince's Trust and everyone who has contributed to creating this building of the future," he said. "Thanks must also go to Alan Barnes, my old teacher at Budehaven, for planting the seed that you can build anything if you put your mind to it."