03-2016-Blog-Post-2

A development with a strong design ethos

Freshford Mill | 23 March 2016 |

Environ Communities are proud and excited to be given the opportunity to breath new life into one of Baths most vibrant and popular villages. Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ Communities, has great vision as to how the area can be developed to reflect the local vernacular, complementing the beautiful village of Freshford; at the same time he is keen to offer the best of country living that discerning purchasers demand today.

In his long standing career Tony has created many award winning developments and has developed a unique and distinctive style with extensive  attention to detail; designing residential schemes that complement the local environment. He firmly believes that it is the relationship between space and light that shapes our experience of a building and ultimately turns a house into a home.

Ample natural lighting, ventilation from fresh air, views over landscaped grounds or water and easy access to outdoor space are all hallmarks of an Environ property. The need to be connected to nature and the benefits this brings are certainly not new concepts however these principles have been influential in the design process at Freshford Mill.

New windows, rooflights, glazed bifold or sliding doors have been installed in the houses to increase light levels which have been linked to improve mood, enhanced morale, lower fatigue and reduce eye strain. This is particularly important as our society now spends approximately ninety percent of its time indoors, which can lead to adverse impacts on health associated with lack of contact with natural surroundings.

Letecombe Lodge is the Show Home which will be available to view in late Spring has been designed with all these credentials in mind.  With floor to ceiling glazed doors in the kitchen, study, sitting and dining room and a light well over the staircase that floods the very centre of the house with natural light, the feeling of space is apparent as soon as you walk through the door. The master suite has exceptional views across the beautifully landscaped lake across to the natural landscape of the fields beyond; this view can be enjoyed on a rainy day indoors in addition to on a sunny day from the balcony which is accessed through the room’s bi-fold doors.

It is not just the show home that has been designed with the outside countryside in mind, all properties, including apartments have access to either a private fully landscaped garden or a balcony with views over the adjoining countryside such as in the Carding Mill which overlooks the island nature reserve. This reinforces the connection to the environment.

In addition Freshford Mill has communal landscaped grounds for residents to enjoy and benefit from. There is a new lake with decked walkways constructed amongst rustling reeds leading to viewing platforms with seating for a relaxing Spring day.  A butterfly garden full of colourful, nectar rich plants to encourage both butterflies and moths and a nature reserve to encourage the scheme to blend into the natural environment have also been included. Even allotments are available for residents to partake in the “good life”.

Part of the Environ design ethos is to source natural materials such as local larch to be used for the cladding on a number of the houses, car barns, pergolas and decking. Stone walls are being built to enclose private spaces. Oak floors inside the houses are selected from the Kahrs Artisan Range with stone work tops in the kitchens.

With all these design elements beginning to take shape at Freshford Mill we look forward to being in a position to invite you to see the show home later this Spring. In the meantime we would be happy to discuss your individual property needs and offer further information on the properties available on this uniquely created development.

03-2016-Blog-Post

How to encourage wildlife in your garden this spring

Environ, Freshford Mill | 17 March 2016 |

Spring is just around the corner, and as we’ll soon be spending more time outdoors, we thought we’d have a look at how to make sure your garden is providing the right environment for wildlife. At Environ’s latest project, Freshford Mill near Bath, Julie and the team are transforming a derelict mill into 21 new homes. Based in a conservation area teeming with wildlife Julie is putting her top tips into practice and is designing the site as a haven for local wildlife:

– Select a wide range of native trees and shrubs, plus a mixture of flowering plants and vegetables to provide food for animals throughout the season. Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects that are essential for fertilisation.

– Create a compost heap to provide shelter for reptiles and hedgehogs. A pile of rotting wood is good for stag and bark beetles and woodlice.

– Encourage birds with fresh water and food. Nuts, sunflower seeds, kitchen scraps fat balls, or pet shop seed mixtures are all good. Just make sure feeding tables are not accessible to cats and squirrels!

– To encourage butterflies, plant groups of the same flowers together so they are easy to find. Leave areas of longer grass, nettles and brambles, which create a supply of food and egg-laying environments, plus shelter for small mammals such as hedgehogs, wood mice, voles and shrews.

– Don’t kill off all the caterpillars and other insects in your garden! Instead install insect “hotels” which offer a variety of environments. They can be built with old wood, loose bark, and hollow stems such as old bamboo canes.

– Don’t light your garden. Lights will deter bats which require dark corridors to navigate at night. If you do, use only LEDs in a warm white or terracotta that shine downwards with a narrow beam and set on a sensor.

– Install a pond with a shallow sloping edge to enable easy access to both water and land for reptiles such as newts. A slightly boggy area around part of the edge of the pond is great for toads and frogs. A pond may also attract waterfowl. Birds such as swallows and house martins will pick off insects from above the water surface and use muddy areas for nest building.

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Homes for Fishing Enthusiasts

Freshford Mill | 19 February 2016 |

At Freshford Mill we are building homes that encourage a connection to the beautiful surrounding nature. The site is situated in the peaceful and beautiful Cotswolds countryside on the River Frome, six miles south east of Bath. One of the many ways residents will be able to connect with nature here is by fishing. All residents at the development will have fishing rights, and the riverbank at Freshford Mill is the perfect place for keen resident anglers to drop their lines, with ...

… its abundant stocks of barbel, chubb, pike, roach, dace and perch!

Fishing has always been a popular sport in the UK, with millions of people participating in the sport each year. Ask any keen angler why they enjoy fishing and they are likely to point out that it’s a great stress reliever. Spending a few hours outdoors beside a river or lake can provide the perfect distraction from busy, modern lives. Those fishing at Freshford will be treated to particularly wonderful views extending up the Limpley Stoke Valley and the upper reaches of Freshford village and the rolling Cotswolds countryside beyond.

Fishing is also a very sociable activity, and a great way to connect with friends and family away from the distractions of modern technology. Many of the homes at Freshford Mill are family homes, and angling is a popular bonding activity for families as it provides physical activity for people of all abilities, including children and elderly grandparents.

The Freshford Mill development has its own island nature reserve which is another ideal spot for fishing. Residents have access to the island which is a great place to sit and enjoy the tranquil surroundings and for younger residents to learn more about nature.

Some of the homes at the development are situated right beside the river, making it possible to fish from the comfort of your own home. The residents at Ashe Barne, one of the larger family homes, will be able to fish from the comfort of their own deck overhanging the river. Similarly, residents at The Fulling Mill, which is being converted into four duplex apartments (prices from £522,000), all have private decking areas overlooking the river and island, from which residents can fish in the River Frome.

If you can picture yourself spending a relaxing afternoon fishing with family and friends on our island nature reserve, or even fancy dropping a line from your own private deck, then give our sales team a call to find out more about our beautiful homes.

For more information on Freshford Mill, get in touch with our sales manager, Sarah Smith. sarah@environcommunities.com | 01732 848316

Freshford-News-Jan-2016

LATEST NEWS FROM
FRESHFORD MILL

Freshford Mill | 26 January 2016 |

Despite the very wet weather at the close of 2015 progress is still being made at Freshford Mill with interior walls being plastered to properties in  Phase 1 and new stone walls emerging to enclose private gardens. The attractive Cock and Hen capping will be added shortly .The base of the lake has been prepared but Environ are still immersed in technicalities regarding the flood defences - there are many regulatory conditions that must be complied with that ...

… have taken longer than expected. And as ever, the conversions have been a voyage of discovery with some unexpected remedial works to be attended to, to ensure the properties achieve the Environ standard of quality.

Preparations for the Showhouse opening are in full swing. Letecombe Lodge is a deceptively spacious home of 2800 sq ft, offering 4 bedrooms, including 3 ensuites and 1 family bathroom. The master suite with balcony and bifold doors overlooking the lake to the front is simply stunning with walk-in wardrobe and luxurious ensuite with both separate shower and bath complemented by contemporary Italian tiles.

The ground floor features a large sitting room with central woodstove feature leading to a dining area. A mirror is positioned above the woodstove behind which is concealed a television which becomes visible at the flick of a switch. To the side of the fireplace unit is storage for logs, DVD player etc.

The large kitchen has space for both sofas and a kitchen table served by a built-in bench unit. Floor to ceiling sliding doors lead out to a private courtyard enclosed on 2 sides by a tall stone wall, perfect for those summer BBQ’s.

The Shaker style hand painted kitchen units in light grey with stone worktops will soon be installed to create a contemporary family kitchen with central island and the latest Bosch appliances including large American Fridge/Freezer, steam oven ,induction hob and Quooker hot tap to provide efficient, safe boiling hot water on demand.

The study, an essential element of today’s lifestyle, offers a very light workspace with both windows and bifold doors leading out to a sheltered paved terrace.

Flooring throughout the ground floor, apart from tiled utility and cloakroom, is a limed oak selected from the Kahrs Artisan Range. This creates a light contemporary feel to the space. The staircase is crafted from matching oak with a light well positioned immediately above to ensure the central areas of the house are flooded with light.

The house will be dressed with furniture from the stylish Neptune range to create a classical but contemporary ambience appealing to all tastes. www.neptune.com

Plans for landscaping are well advanced with generous paved and decked areas to provide sitting areas in the sun or shade to suit the mood. There are lawns where children can play, an enchanting formal garden with lavender lined paths and pretty scented apricot roses with the lower garden featuring the remains of the ancient Dairy as a ‘Folly’ style wall, merging into the fields beyond.

The exterior of the house will be rendered in a soft cream with a locally sourced carving of a Ram’s Head erected in the gable triangle to remind everyone of The Mill’s history. The front door will be approached through a beautiful Lych Gate constructed from wood with slate roof and double gates.

Further details of the opening will be announced shortly.

In the meantime if you have any queries please email our Sales Manager Sarah Smith on  sarah@environcommunities.com   01732 848316

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ENVIRON’S DESIGN ETHOS AT FRESHFORD MILL

Freshford Mill | 26 January 2016 |

Environ Communities were very delighted when they managed to purchase the partly developed Freshford Mill after many months of stiff negotiation. Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ Communities, had great vision as to how the site could be developed to reflect the local vernacular, complementing the beautiful village of Freshford, but also give the best of country living that discerning purchasers demand today.

Tony has created many award winning developments over his career and has evolved a very unique and distinctive style, designing residential schemes that complement the local environment. He firmly believes that it is the relationship between space and light that shapes our experience of a building and ultimately turns a house into a home.

Ample natural lighting, ventilation from fresh air, views over landscaped grounds or water and easy access to outdoor space are all hallmarks of an Environ property. The need to be connected to nature and the benefits this brings are certainly not new concepts, and these principles have been influential in the design process at Freshford Mill.

New windows, rooflights, glazed bifold or sliding doors have been installed to the houses to increase light levels which are linked to improved mood, enhanced morale, lower fatigue and reduced eye strain. This is particularly important as our society now spends approximately ninety percent of its time indoors, which can lead to adverse impacts on health associated with lack of contact with natural surroundings.

In Letecombe Lodge, the Show Home that will open shortly, not only is there floor to ceiling glazed doors in the kitchen, study, sitting and dining room, there is a light well over the staircase that floods the very centre of the house with natural light. The master suite has an exceptional view across the lake and fields, with floor to ceiling bifold doors that open out on to a generous balcony.

All properties have access to either a private fully landscaped garden which may include generous paved and decked areas, or a balcony with views over the adjoining countryside such as in Carding Mill which overlooks the Island Nature Reserve. This reinforces the connection to the environment.

In addition Freshford Mill has landscaped grounds for residents to enjoy and benefit from, including  a new lake with decking walkways amongst rustling reeds, leading to viewing platforms with seating, a Butterfly Garden full of colourful nectar rich plants to encourage both butterflies and moths, a nature reserve and even allotments for residents to partake in the “good life”.

Part of the Design Ethos is to use natural materials such as locally sourced larch to be used for cladding on houses and carbarns, pergolas and decking. Stone walls with cock and hen capping are currently being built to enclose private spaces. Oak floors inside the houses are selected from the Kahrs Artisan Range, with stone work tops in the kitchens.

In the meantime if you have any queries please contact Sarah Smith, Environ Sales Manager

01732 848316 or sarah@environcommunities.com

Or Giles Harling 01225 4745000  or  GHarling@savills.com

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The latest trends and factors when building new homes

Environ | 18 December 2015 |

With a new year just around the corner Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ, discusses some of the latest trends and factors affecting the building of new homes.

The Most Important Features Buyers Will Be Looking For in New Homes in 2016: Buyers of new properties are looking for space, light, the latest technology and access to an outdoor space. As a result we are offering homes that offer ...

… much larger square footages, a very high specification and incorporates biophilic design. In essence this is an architectural celebration of natural forms, processes, patterns, qualities and materials that provide a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional health. Of particular relevance in the Environ model is that developments concentrate on integrating retirement schemes into existing communities rather than the isolation of retirement villages. Environ is very much concentrating on a new retirement model as a response to a number of studies that show that the type of homes being produced is not tempting retirees from their larger homes, despite their desire to downsize.

The Effects of Changing Technology on the Housing Market: Broadband and mobile phone signals are now of paramount importance in any scheme. Technology is moving on at such a pace that it is essential to allow for future flexibility and the inter relationship between computers and TV screens in the home. In the same way that we are now incorporating mechanical and electrical plant cupboards as a sort of command module; we are also including media hubs as a control point for all the media/computer/mobile technology.

The Impact of Changing Family Living Situations on the Type of Homes People Want to Buy: It is important that houses are designed with ‘Lifetime Homes’ principles, so that houses can adapt with changing needs and are equally suitable for young families and retirees. Some commentators are hinting at house layouts going away from open plan. In my view this would be a retrograde step as private areas can be created in an open plan layout given the flexibility of pocket doors and sliding partitions.

The Effect of the Government’s Targets for Building New Homes: Some of the provisions in the Housing and Planning Bill and the Autumn Statement would appear positive, but there remains so much uncertainty. For all the positive comment, it’s not possible to simply pick up the numbers in an instant. It’s a bit like getting an oil tanker up to speed. The planning system will continue to delay development as there are still a number of constraints, such as the need for specialist reports in order for an application to be validated.

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Bath and Bristol
Look to the Future

Freshford Mill | 20 November 2015 |

new report from Knight Frank shows regeneration projects in Bath and Bristol will boost the economy and property prices in the cities and surrounding areas, making the South West even more popular than it already is. This is great news for Freshford Mill , our own regeneration project, and future home owners. New enterprise zones in Bristol and Bath will create around 26,000 jobs between them, attracting established businesses as well as small and medium businesses ...

… in the creative and digital sectors, bringing new energy and creativity into the cities. In terms of economic growth, it is suggested that Bristol and Bath will outperform the South West this year and in years to come.

Bath is already known worldwide as an international tourist destination full of museums, cafes, and attractions. But behind the Georgian facades, Bath is undertaking an exciting transformation.  The Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area – the ‘City of Ideas’ is a collection of development sites and buildings along the river corridor. The ‘City of Ideas’ will allow Bath to look to the future, and to become a city where businesses, academia and creativity combine to create value and enhance the quality of life.

The Knight Frank report is positive for the property market too; over the last decade, property prices in Bristol and Bath have outperformed the average. The improvement of rail links between London and the South West, with the electrification of the line, are important factors in drawing new homeowners to the area. Commuting from Bath to London daily will become far more common, as the trip is reduced to just over an hour – making it shorter than some tube journeys!

Another exciting new development project in the area is our own Freshford Mill, which is due to be transformed into a thriving residential community of 21 homes. Located on the River Frome in the Cotswold countryside 6 miles south-east of Bath and 15 miles south-east of Bristol, the village of Freshford is one of the most scenic around Bath and has its own train station, bus service and easy links to the M4 motorway. The development will involve the conversion of historic mill buildings, as well as newly built, stylish modern homes.

Like Bath and Bristol as a whole, Freshford is looking to the future, whist recognising and celebrating the value of its past.

Somerset

London, New York,
Somerset

Freshford Mill | 2 October 2015 |

There’s more to Somerset than you might think! Somerset is a beautiful county, with a perfect mixture of peaceful rural landscapes and bustling activity. Of course, Somerset has long been famous as the home of Glastonbury Festival which attracts celebrities and music fans from all over the world to a farm in the tiny village of Pilton every year. This year the tickets sold out in just 25 minutes signalling that the popularity of the festival isn’t suffering after 45 years.

But it’s not just Glastonbury festival that causes people to flock to Somerset in search of a culture fix. This summer the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Bruton celebrated its first birthday. Hauser & Wirth have renowned contemporary art galleries in New York, London and Zurich and so the opening of a gallery in an unknown town in Somerset came as a bit of a surprise. But over the last year it has attracted a range of celebrities and hosted a diverse schedule of events and exhibitions.

Another boost to the popularity and trendiness of Somerset came around 15 years ago with the opening of Babington House, the country off-shoot of London’s fashionable media hang-out, Soho House. Babington House is considered one of the ultimate UK spa destinations for those from the city looking to escape and unwind. The so called ‘Babington effect’ boosted popularity of homes in the Somerset villages and towns in the surrounding area.

The upcoming electrification of the Great Western Line is likely to make Somerset even more desirable. This huge railway modernisation project is bringing Somerset closer to London every day; by the time it is completed next year, London and Bath will be only an hour’s train ride apart. This is great news for those who want to live a more peaceful life, taking advantage of the beautiful rural landscapes of the West Country, but without giving up the benefits of being within easy reach of London.

Along with all of this new exciting news and stylish modern arrivals in Somerset, are of course the things that have made the county attractive for centuries. Quality of life is high in Somerset, with beautiful rural surroundings, a long list of outdoor activities to enjoy, low crime levels, low pollution, good schools and great transport links to the rest of the country. The countryside surrounding the picturesque towns and villages is teeming with wildlife ready to be explored by adventurous children.

With all the new and exciting news from Somerset, along with everything that has made it a great place to live for centuries, it is no wonder the beautiful county is more popular than ever.

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Smart living for
the un-retiring

Stuart Court | 16 September 2015 |

Coming Soon. A new addition of 5 houses and 2 apartments to the existing exclusive development Stuart Court managed by Cognatum, a leading company in its field. Designed for the new generation of un-retiring 55+, it is set in the unspoilt Cotswold village of Minchinhampton, with Stuart Court less than 10 minutes walk to shops,a church, a library, doctor’s surgery, dentist, post office , chemist , restaurants, a golf course and other sporting facilities.

Environ is delighted to be associated with Cognatum, who offer a comprehensive management service organised by estate managers who are also available for advice and respond to emergencies. The ethos is to provide a service for those who want a more relaxed way of life without sacrificing standards, or wish perhaps to spend more time abroad and want a secure and maintained home whilst they are away. The services to residents operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Set amidst gracious parkland grounds the new development will be centred around a contemporary water garden. The very spacious and luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 ensuite Lifetime Homes, some with upstairs study, will be constructed to Environ’s exacting standards- oak flooring, underfloor heating, large sliding treble glazed doors and windows, Domus tiles, balconies, Duravit sanitary ware, Pyram kitchens and generous storage making them light and airy, and easy to run. Provision has been made  to install a small 2 man lift at a future date should this be required. Materials on the exterior are low maintenance  with fully landscaped courtyard gardens with built-in seating. Environ include many extras as standard.

The 2 bedroom apartments are exceptionally spacious, the first floor one accessed via a lift. The ground floor apartment has a fully landscaped courtyard garden too. Both have impressive views over the communal garden to the front.

Register your interest today in our light and airy homes- this is a rare opportunity not to be missed! There is much interest already in this unique development.

For pre-launch details of contemporary living at Stuart Court please ring Sarah on 01732 848316 or email enquiries@environcommunities.com

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Freshford Mill
Wildlife

Freshford Mill | 31 July 2015 |

Freshford Mill, a site six miles south-east of Bath, set in beautiful Cotswolds countryside, is due to be transformed from a dilapidated site of abandoned buildings to a thriving development of 21 homes, where residents will be connected to the rural beauty that surrounds them. The site is surrounded by unspoilt woodland and pastures which are teeming with beautiful English wildlife. The development itself is designed to be a nature haven with several

wildlife-friendly features, such as native trees, hedge and wildflowers planted to provide a habitat for insects and birds.

The site lies in the quintessentially English village of Freshford, voted one of the most desirable villages in England, set in the southernmost part of the Cotswolds ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. However, despite its tranquillity, its proximity to nature and stunning rural views, the mill is just ten minutes’ walk from Freshford train station, and from here residents can be in the centre of Bath in just ten minutes.

One of Freshford Mill’s main features will be a lovely wildlife lake, planted with native plants to attract bats and merge with a wildflower meadow, which is particularly attractive to bees. Nature lovers will be able to enjoy the lake from walkways, boardwalks and a viewing platform. Birds such as Swallows and House Martins will swoop in to catch insects from the lake, and build nests nearby. Benches around the lake will allow residents to take in the views up to Limpley Stoke Valley and to the top of Freshford Village.

The riverbank is a great place for keen resident anglers to drop their lines in search of abundant stocks of barbel, chubb, pike, roach, dace or perch to name but a few! Because of Environ’s commitment to the local community, as well as the local environment, a special island nature reserve will be available to children from the local primary school to enjoy. Children will be able to see birds, various types of fish, and even the occasional otter swimming by!

An orchard is to be planted with local varieties of apple, pear and plum which will ultimately reach about ten feet in height, and there will be allotments on site so that residents can grow their own fruit and vegetables and further connect with the great outdoors. Another nature-friendly feature at Freshford Mill is a butterfly garden, located in what used to be a derelict folly, with seating built into the wall, providing the perfect place for residents to view the butterflies.

One of Environ’s guiding principles is New Urbanism, which promotes the design of living spaces that connect to the local, natural environment and the plans at Freshford are a great example of this. The connection between the development and the nature that surrounds the site will help to create a sense community and wellbeing for those who live there.

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