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Ashley Vale Action Group -
c/o Bethan Evans, 228 Mina Road, St Werburghs, Bristol, BS2 9YP

Update 30th October 2006: - AVAG and Ashley Vale Self-Build Co-operative have turned 2.1 acres of concrete slab into a sustainable house-building project where people have build their own homes using predominantly low impact building materials. The majority of houses are timber frame (the exceptions are those built on or around pre-existing buildings). Building materials were mainly from the BREAM 'A' list. This is a rating system which takes into account the lifetime consequences of the use of different materials in different settings - ideally materials would be locally sourced and carbon neutral but this is not always practical (or affordable).

The site is not just about the sustainability of the materials - it is also the bigger picture. Apart from greening an innner city area there is a focus on quality of life too. The Yard is a pleasant place to live, and building your own home makes for a smaller mortgage, thereby improving quality of life. Sustainable living is also an element; for instance low car usage. The bungalows being built in the centre are a means for people who would not otherwise have been able to afford to buy in this area to get onto the housing ladder. Then the last piece of the jigsaw will be the old office block, which AVAG plan to turn into a useful, beautiful building.

Formed in February 2000 by residents of the Ashley Vale area of Bristol who were concerned about the redevelopment of a former scaffolding yard in the area. In May 2000, a core group of residents formed a non-profit making company to purchase and re-develop the site for the benefit of the community.

To finance the purchase we brought together a group of people, many of whom already lived locally, who wanted to build their own houses in the area. By sub-selling 20 plots to the self-builders and 6 plots to Redland Housing Association for homes for the elderly, we successfully bought the site in May 2001. A central plot of land and an office block remain in AVAG's ownership.

The self-builders joined AVAG as soon as the purchase was complete and, along with a few other local residents, now have responsibility for developing the site in an environmentally-sustainable manner sensitive to the needs of the local community.

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