Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Affordable straw houses on agenda

Straw bale house
Each semi-detached house will cost about 110,000 to build

A Lincolnshire council is planning to use straw bales in the construction of four semi-detached homes in a bid to promote affordable green housing.

North Kesteven District Council claims to be the first UK local authority to use straw technology for its housing.

Planning applications for four homes, which will cost 110,000 each, are expected to be decided by mid-March.

The houses - which use 480 bales each and look like conventional homes - will be located in Martin and in Waddington.

Sustainable methods

The three-bedroom houses are being designed by Amazonails, a straw-bale builder based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Locally sourced materials and labour will be used by Sleaford firm Hatcher and Sons, who will construct the homes if permission is granted by the council planners.

"The homes will be undistinguishable from conventional brick homes - however, the insulating benefits of straw will mean they will be three times more insulated," the council said.

Council leader Marion Brighton said: "The proposed straw houses will help us to meet the district council's sustainability agenda, whilst at the same time offering affordable housing to residents within the district.

"These straw houses are not only innovative, but also pioneering, as they are the first properties of this type to be built by a local authority to be used for social housing in the country.

"It is hoped these houses, built through this new type of technology, will set a leading example to developers, housing associations and other councils throughout the country."

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