Nick Rosen | |

McCloud and his shed – but where’s the community?
He calls it his “Grandest Design yet,” but its a bit of a vanity project. This Sunday (Sept 23rd) in the UK, Channel 4 viewers will be able to view every aspect of Kevin McCloud’s self-built, off-grid cabin in the Mendips.

But McCloud, host of the long running TV show “Grand Designs” is strangely silent on one detail – how did he get planning permission for his creation? Planning is the biggest obstacle preventing thousands of others, perhaps tens of of thousands, who are desperate to do what McCloud has done, but cannot get the permission (assuming they are able to get their hands on the land).

“He says he is “off grid and off mains,” but if McCloud’s new series is to be anything more than an essay in Grand Selfishness it should be used to kick off a campaign to loosen the planning restrictions on building eco-homes in the countryside – and in the suburbs or in people’s back gardens.

While McCloud’s new series “Man-made Home” revels in his splendid isolation, its actually only through community activity that off-grid living can ever be successful. With Britain in the grip of a housing crisis, and economic chaos looming if the Euro collapses, there have never been so many who want to live off-grid. But very few want to do it alone. There are practical reasons for this.

Who is going to mind the water-containers while Mr McCloud is off making his next series? What happens to the batteries that power his cellphone? What will stop local rodents eating their way through his organic building materials?

I call on McCloud to join with us to campaign for looser planning laws to allow a new generation of back-to-the-land homesteaders. This would create jobs and housing, and bring life back to the countryside.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the web site

43 Responses to “Kevin McCloud Man Made Home”

  1. shaun

    I don’t think anybody is going to keep tabs on you if you spend your time there . Who cares . Long time dead . I don’t think anybody is going to pay someone to watch over your land 24/7 I’m not at my land all the time now as I used to , but noone complained when I did as my land is in a green belt area. Good luck Angela

  2. Angela

    Well done Shaun. Why didn’t I think of that? I.m looking at woodland sites to spend chunks of time in now I’ve retired and was worrying about the 28 day rule. I’ll just drive a van’s length away for the next 28 days, is it? What about 10 months a year? Not that I want to spend a solid year there. What about a nice shed for when it’s really cold, pretending to be storage for the saw?

  3. shaun

    I love watching Kevin Mc Cloud having a go , but its only TV and you can’t read to much into it . To all of you out there build your shed and don’t ask the planners . If no one says anything after 4 years they ant going to make you pull it down , if its on wheels or skids then just move it tro another part of your site .The planners have to go though the motions again and you just move it again . I know as I have 2 acrs of land in south Wales and have been doing this Forr 11 years . Buy your land and enjoy .

  4. Chris

    Hi there first I have to say I really enjoyed the program it made me and my little boy of 6 years laugh a lot, a mini on big wheels dad how cool, blowing up trees even cooler, point is it was bloody good entertainment, as for me I bought a woodland last year at auction for 6,500.00 pounds in Cornwall, 4.2 acres of mostly oak trees, after vat and legal and paying the duchy of Cornwalls legal and mine surches it stood me at about 9,500, still I’m going for it, I’m an engineer and have a business restoring old Vw Beetles and Campers you can look me up on face book Old Dubz Chris Francis restorations, I produce my own bio ethanol out of food waste and run my old Vw Bug on the stuff, anyway I do ramble so cutting it short I’m giving this a go and will be building a wooden home on a chassis and see what happens, should be fun just winding up the Cornwall council, if anyone is interested in this you can contact me on face book Old Dubz, Chris Francis

  5. Kate

    We just enjoyed the joy expressed by Kevin that comes from your own input into a project. I remain proud of the fact that I used our router first of all!

  6. Countryloving

    I’d just like to know where you can buy 2acres of nice woodland like that for less that the price of a second hand car as Kevin says early on (I really like Kevin and all of his programs but does he mean a secondhand bentley?..) you used to be able to find stuff for 2k an acre or less now it seems impossible under 20k , love to be proved wrong! :) Thanks Mark

  7. Arch

    Scrub the comments above re Wholewoods he has now published my comment ?

  8. Arch

    Well guys that’s it thought there would be more to Kevins woodland shagpad ?

    Did like the tube heat exchanger Will fabricated into the tub stove, sort down the lines of a high pressure boiler ! May have worked a little better if the pipes had been laid horizontal so as to slow the hot gases passage to the flue so they dumped more heat ? And more tubes more heat ?
    His drop down wottsit didn’t show any finesse in design Wills gearing wasn’t right for the job ! Counter weights would have helped.
    When you consider that wooden horse boxes have similar platforms that drop down as a ramp, they take a lot of weight but one man can easily open and shut one, so, so much for Wills boasted comment that if you want something to really work bring it to him ! Note his boats are bought in kits which he then welds up ! But liked his stove heat exchanger good to see a young guy
    making a living by hard work.

  9. Arch

    Well there’s no point leaving a comment on the Wholewoods site run by the guy who built Kevins shed as he just deletes then, I made a few comments re his post on clapper boarding ( having been in the trade for 36 years ) and he didn’t publish it, not my fault there’s flaws in what he’s doing with nails ? It’s all a big conspiracy !

  10. Arch

    Oh and the fact that she was hot didn’t go unnoticed by Willy Trickett ( bloke with ginger side burns, looks abit like Wolvereen, yes ? )

  11. Arch

    Kevins a Eco warrior with a shed ( and a fab farmhouse, barns, workshops, maybe another property in London, France, etc ?
    And he’s got balls ! Plus big big big fee for doing this programme, f..king lucky bastard !

    I did think that was a total waste of a Grey Ferguson tractor as they are always repairable and the best tractor for anyone off griding.

    Don’t think there is anything amazing in what he’s done its all been done before in some form or other, but it will inspire a lot of people to have ago, he’s a big Tart but he’s good at it.

    By the way the glass girl was super hot ! She can glaze me any day wow !

  12. Richard

    Don’t forget this is a TV show and the producers want to make sure there is something interesting going on to film. Hence silly playing with explosives, thermic lances, raw sewage etc.

    Ultimately it’s just entertainment and not education.

    The really interesting stuff is in the planning aspects (which were quickly skirted around) and real off grid heating, power, water and waste disposal. I guess that ‘lowest common denominator’, ‘dumbed down’ TV will strike again and we won’t get to see anything really useful or in depth.

    Off to do more research into building stuff on grazing land….

  13. pete

    I’m with Charlotte & Alf – lighten up guys !
    Ok so Kev’s a bit of a telly tart , but I think he would be the first to admit it.
    The project is fun and and provides some thought provoking ideas.
    I doubt his shed will be allowed to stay there forever and the box ticking dullards at the planning office will see to that. So lets not get all bent out of shape cos he is able to do something we would all love to but never had the balls/money to try


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