1. BBC News Kent, Canterbury couple turn bus into a new home, 29 June 2012, posted here
2. Property developer spends £11,000 turning double-decker bus into his new home after being priced out of housing market, Mail Online, 28 June 2012, posted here
3. Ian Abley, 'Development Rights for the Hydrogen-Fuelled Future', chapter 18 in Ian Abley and James Heartfield, editors, Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-machine Age, Chichester, Wiley Academy, 2001, p 210 to 227
Home is a Double Decker Bus refit for Daniel Bond and Stacey Drinkwater
A self employed auto-electrician Daniel Bond, aged 28, and Stacey Drinkwater, aged 20, bought a Double Decker Bus for £3,000, and spent £11,000 installing plumbing, kitchen, and bedrooms. (1) Like many young couples they were unable to afford to buy or rent a house on the market, but unusually they now call their Bus home in the Canterbury area of Kent. They told the Daily Mail they '... could not be happier', while a little oddly the newspaper described them as "Property Developers". (2)
Originally from Cornwall, Bond told the press '... it has taken me the last four months to do. Im the sort of person who really gets stuck into things' (2) Good for Daniel and Stacey I say. Many people must have told them it was a mad thing to attempt, but they might make it work.
My only fear for them is that they are likely to face the wrath of the planning system wherever they try to park up and live. Particularly so if friends follow their great example and become something of a convoy.
Yet they might find some safety in numbers. Drinkwater said '... our mates who also struggle with high house prices even want to come and build their own house bus and live next to us.' (2) I hope they do, and support each other. However they will be attacked for blighting the countryside with their Bus Village, and the full weight of the planning law will be brought down on them. Planners representing the planning obsessed public don't like poorly paid working people bucking the inflated housing market in this sort of imaginative way. It shows independence.
I have long thought this sort of independent housing action would be a way forward for Britain's youth. (3) The refitting of a Double Dekker Bus is a great idea, but young couples from earlier generations used to be imaginative in just these sorts of ways long before the planning law stopped them in 1947. The problem for the Bonds and Drinkwaters is that the same law stops them housing themselves cheaply today.
I would like to meet this couple and their friends, to encourage and support them in any way I can. Good for Daniel and Stacey. If their friends join maybe their parked or mobile Bus Village could become one of the locations we aim to support through the 250 New Towns Club.
Thanks to Phil Hayward for emailing me with their story.
Ian Abley 01.07.2012
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