Ashley Vale Self Build Development


Ashley Vale is a development of 37 homes with affordable business space, built on a former scaffold yard with two large sheds and extensive hard-standing area. Although it is in the city, it is a cul-de-sac with an almost semi-rural feel created by relatively low density, adjacent verdant railway embankments and open space and allotments.

Two buildings already on the site were retained and converted and all the plots sold had electricity and water connections. The self-builders were responsible for all other aspects of construction. Some used a sub-contractor to supply and erect the timber-frame structures, while others undertook the work themselves.

An unusual design approach was adopted: the principle of self expression underpins the scheme and so there is a mix of scales, architectural styles and materials. A bold office building gives a clear sense of arrival and there is a prominent communal garden/play area. A home zone approach uses shared surfaces to create attractive streets that feel safe for pedestrians.

Residential density is around 30-35 dwellings per hectare and parking provision at one space per unit. Vehicle access is from existing roads around the site and a shared surface road within the scheme. The business space is available for rent and occupied by small scale not-for-profit organisations.

The site is a short level walk from local shops and other facilities including a primary school. A city farm with café is located close by as well as allotments, climbing centre and nature reserve. Regular bus services are available within 500m of the site.

Extensive use of photovoltaics, and sedum roofs, reflect the community’s commitment to sustainability.

Key information




South West


2010 winner