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TV star says grand design was 'a brutal process'
11:30am Wednesday 20th July 2011 in News
TELEVISION presenter Kevin McCloud has admitted he made mistakes while building his own grand design, The Triangle.
The whole process, from the design stage through to finding families to move into the 42-home development, will be aired in a three-part Channel 4 series later this year.
It will follow the five-year project at the site, off Northern Road, which has just welcomed its first residents.
Mr McCloud said: “This has not been the easiest thing for me. I’m normally part of television making, not its subject, and I’ve found the change of roles bewildering at times.
“Rather than standing on the sidelines watching other people make decisions – and mistakes – I’ve been the one making them.
“And not just about a single house, but about a housing development, through a recession and in the face of some pretty formidable local difficulties.
“It has been a long, difficult and sometimes brutal process, and the cameras have captured all of it.”
The Triangle is the first scheme by Hab Oakus, a joint venture between McCloud’s development company, Hab, and housing group GreenSquare.
In the series, Mr McCloud sets out to prove what Britain’s housing industry said couldn’t be done – to build beautiful, contemporary, affordable, sustainable homes and still make money.
For 10 years as presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, Mr McCloud has followed some of Britain’s most ambitious building projects, as intrepid individuals attempt to design and construct the home of their dreams.
The series follows his project from deciding what to build and raising the money to fund it, to finding a site and convincing the locals it will benefit them.
The Triangle includes 16 two-bedroom houses, 13 three-bedroom homes, seven four-bedroom properties, four one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom homes.
A total of 727 people applied to live in the development and there were interviews and questionnaires before homes were allocated.
The development prides itself on being eco-friendly.
Residents have been given lessons in organic gardening for the community garden, are only allowed one car per household and can communicate with each other using an intranet system known as a Shimmy.
Channel 4’s specialist factual commissioning editor, Tanya Shaw, said: “Kevin is putting everything into this project – his reputation, his savings, all because of his passionate belief there is a need for environmentally-friendly housing developments which can also promote a sense of community.
“It is fascinating to see him step outside the presenting role and become the centre of the story.”