A Land Worth Loving update: The Everetts

Updated Monday, 31st July 2006
We catch up with the families from A Land Worth Loving - are they keeping on their green path?

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Everett House

Are you disillusioned with modern life? Do you feel like swapping the stresses of modern living for a more simple way of life - to be in harmony with nature? That's just what sculptor Jack Everett did, when (in 1984) he built his three-bedroom timber house from recycled materials in the depths of a Cotswold wood in Gloucestershire, a testament to his belief that "we can live differently from the way we're told we have to". His house began life as much humbler beginnings, as a workshop and storage place, for which he obtained temporary planning permission. After a while he made it his home and after fifteen years, he rebuilt the structure into the house it is today. Building his home with as little impact as possible on the environment, it became a haven to Jack, his partner Emma and their four children.

The house has no central heating or plumbing, the heating is from a wood burner, while water for laundry and washing is collected from the roof. How many people do you know buy bottled spring water? The Everett's wouldn't dream of paying for it! Jack regularly collects fresh drinking water from a nearby spring. There's a composting toilet, set out among the trees, with a door that can be left open to the woodland, a "loo with a view" as Jack calls it.

The two eldest children, Saffron, 16, and Lawrence, 14, feel privileged to have grown up with the freedom of the land around them. But this may not be an environment that their other two siblings will share.

The end of an era may be in sight for while Jack built his house on his own land, he did not have planning permission to rebuild the structure as a house to live in. Situated as it is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Council has ordered him to demolish it. With the court case hanging over them, Emma and the children have moved out and are staying at a friend's house. Jack is staying to fight on and says he won't go until he's forced to.

In an attempt to 'save the house that Jack built', Jack has applied to the Council to use the site as a studio, workshop and store. The Council are considering his application.




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