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Paul & Gail
Paul and Gail and their two little boys moved from Surrey to their three-storey house on The Wintles in October 2004.

Paul’s job involves campaigning to promote sustainable homes for the World Wildlife Fund. Bob Tomlinson, the founder of Living Villages, invited him to see The Wintles when it was being built.

Although Paul had only visited the site out of professional interest, he says, ‘I was attracted by a combination of the houses and the location - I fell for Bishops Castle. It’s extraordinarily active for a town of its size, and The Wintles benefits hugely from what goes on there. I’d say the sense of community you feel here comes 70% from Bishop’s Castle and 30% from The Wintles.’

The family decided to move there. Paul now works three days a week back in Surrey, and works from home the rest of the time. He and Gail are very happy with the house.

‘The environmental aspects aren’t rammed down your throat’, says Paul, ‘and the aesthetic hasn’t been compromised. The design is very complementary. There are lots of windows but they’re easy to open, so it doesn’t get too hot in the summer. That aspect works well, as over-heating can be a problem in other energy-efficient homes.’

The house is warm in the winter, too.

‘Our log burner has provided the bulk of the heating this winter, and it’s been great - it gives a nice ambience. It’s also fairly green, as the wood comes from a renewable source.’

They also enjoy the many other benefits of living on The Wintles.

‘The design, orientation, and creation of the Green enables us to bump into and meet the neighbours easily. We wanted to be part of a community without being on top of each other.

‘There’s a good balance here between respecting each other’s privacy and helping each other out. There’s a sense of community but you don’t feel you have to be dragged into activities if you don’t want to. It’s great that it’s a ‘home zone’, with no cars. We have two boys aged two and four, and it’s easy to keep an eye on them when they’re playing with other kids.’

Paul concludes, ‘There are no other developments quite like The Wintles in the UK. Others range from houses dug out of the hillside to boring and ordinary homes with a high energy specification.

‘I believe that if you’re going to make sustainable housing catch on, you’ve got to make it look sexy. The Wintles makes a very important contribution in that respect.’