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Hedgehog Co-op

Hedgehog Self Build Co-op, Hogs Edge, Brighton

March 2015

One of Brighton’s examples of community self build which started in the late 1990s, this development of ten timber frame houses is based on the Walter Segal approach to construction. They incorporate high levels of Warmcell insulation and benefit from south facing solar gain. The living roofs are of Sedum.

It may be worth keeping an eye on Eco Open Houses in case any of them are available to visit.

Architect: Robin Hillier of Architype

and here for some of the specification at Hedgehog

See also Forever Green

17 comments to Hedgehog Co-op

  • John Hindes

    Dear Hedgehog co op
    Iam a full time student at the faculty of the built environment at Westminster university.I am fascinated and inspired in equal part,would it be possible to visit your site and have a chat with some of you?
    Regards John Hindes
    ps mob 07553 475 012

  • Peter Hurford

    Congrats to all involved what a life long rewarding project and on going benefits that have come from your groups initiative.

    Australia has a critical housings shortage like UK and other western countries and can learn from this. What we like mainly is the lack of financial profit involved in this as in Aussie it’s all about how much the builder can profit from housing??

  • Adam Osen

    I am determined to eliminate homelessness, the community you’ve built is an excellent idea, could you please contact me. @eliminatehomelessness

  • Hope Voyce

    Dear sir/madam

    I watched grand designs revisited last night and saw this housing co operative and thought it was an absolutely wonderful idea I am personally interested in a career in solutions and mental health and Id like to contact someone from the co operative about the long term impact of the self build and the potential it could have for others. Is there anyway u could put me in touch.

    Kind regards

  • Reenie

    I’d love to hear from anyone in Australia that is interested or has experience in setting up a similar project. Please email:

  • Elaine Williams

    We are impressed with Hogs Edge Brighton site developed by South London Family HA later Horizon Housing/Amicus Horizon Housing Group and are looking for a contact to speak to about the development I’d be grateful if you could provide a contact to the above email address. Many thanks.

  • Sula Grigg

    Hi guys,

    I just want to say a pretty late well done. I just watched your episode of Grand Designs. Truly inspirational, well done for keeping it together and holding out till the end. A really interesting way of putting a roof over your heads. Have any of you gone on to build another house ? Are any of you carpenters ? How have the kids found it growing up in a tight knit community like this ? I grew up in a similar community, its nice to know others have been brought up similarly.
    This project also interests me as a sculpture student in glasgow, for my degree show i would liek to experiment with a communal society way of living.

    Best Wishes
    Sula Grigg

  • Teuila Grace Tualaulelei

    Was really inspired by your cooperative, I see myself as building one for me, and two for daughters (for when they have their own families) – they’re 16 and 22, I’m 46 so want my family to be rockin’ when grandchildren come; spread out over a hectare.
    What are your top 10 ‘If I knew what I know now, I’d do this…….differently’?

    Many thanks

    Teuila 🙂

  • brett

    i have just watched this episode featuring the coop housing, is anyone aware of any other similar schems i could join ? im desperate to put an affordable roof over my kids head. thanks

  • dave

    I have watched with more than a little interest your self build.Being an ex Brighton renter who has found himself with twenty acres to build a similar house such as yours on,I know lucky batsard but life pushes us in interesting directions.Do you know of any plans available for free.What a great job you all did congratulations.

  • John Elwyn Kimber

    Inexpensive post and beam houses with sensible passive solar features are nothing new and there are thousands of surviving examples in the US, built from the 1940s onward with breezewa
    ys, sensible overhanging eaves etc. They were deemed obsolete when the aircon salesmen got going in the 1970s but today look like admirable examples of ‘green’ building, with methods worth reviving and upgrading to passivhaus standard or similar. Plenty
    of examples on this admirable website

  • John Elwyn Kimber

    If no luck with Hillier and Architype the following web-pages may stimulate alternative ideas –

    this is a typical small post and beam kit cabin; and the ‘gone but not forgotten’ section of this website shows many imaginative solutions to post war housing shortages in the US, using post and beam, some of very fine architectural quality and well worth studying –

    have a look at Bert King, Mason Hicks, Sprinkle [and Stanley]
    Jim and John Webb, Don Stewart and many others. These ‘midcentury modern ranch style houses’ could be built very cheaply and would easily be adaptable to high standards of insulation, mounting of solar panels and so forth

  • Helen Annand

    In Australia I just saw Kevin’s update on the houses. Wonderful. I’d seen the other scheme where the work counted as a deposit to buy the finished house. I wish these people could have done this and hope one day they will be able to buy their beautiful homes. It does go to show how one man, Paul, could be passionate enough to get the whole scheme started and work through all problems to a satisfactory end.

  • Stephen Smith

    I recently watched a repeat of the Channel 4 ‘Grand Designs’ programme covering the Hedgehog Housing Co-op’s development at Brighton in the late 1990’s.

    I was involved in a group self build housing project in Milton Keynes during 1987/89 and wonder if I could get more information on the Hedgehog Co-op, relating to how the ‘sweat equity’ benefited the co-op members and how things have subsequently been completed on site.

    In my opinion, I think the TV programme fell a bit short of following the scheme to completion. It is my hope that the development will be re-visited by Grand Designs as it is particularly pertinent to the needs of today.

    On our the self build we had to put in a minimum of 24 hours each weekend and up to 6 hours extra in the summer months, in addition to working full time in our day jobs. I would like to contact a representative of hedgehog Co-op, if possible, to share experiences. Could that be arranged? I can be contacted at

    Many thanks


  • bobthebuilder

    Hi Justin, Hi Mike,
    The houses were actually designed by an architects practice called Architype, mentioned above. This web site has nothing to do with them and nothing to do with Hedgehog housing Co-op.

  • mike

    Hi I have the same interest as justin and would like to see some of te plans or be pointe at a site wher i can get some

    or indeed justin if ypu could help
    thanks mike

  • justin

    Hi there

    I saw the episode of Grand Designs that showcased your development and was very impressed, not onyl at the buildings themselves but at your individual efforts. I was wondering if the plans are available for these buildings. I intend to build my own home – particularly if I can get decent plans like the houses you built.

    many thanks


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