UK's 1st street of self-builders tell their Grand Designs story

The ups and downs of life as a self-builder are revealed in a new TV series.

Grand Designs: The Street follows 10 pioneering householders who are creating a new street from the ground up in the UK's biggest-ever self-build project.

Experiment in diversity

The homeowners all bought a plot of land at Bicester in Oxfordshire as part of a major experiment by the local council to diversity house building and create a new community on the site, which the council bought from the Ministry of Defence.

The new Channel 4 series, presented by Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud has been almost a decade in the making and reveals both the inspiration and perspiration behind the project.

Streamlining process

The 10 self-builders each bought a plot of land on the site for around £100,000 that came with pre-approved outline planning permission, part of the council's aim to streamline and simplify the planning process for self-builders.

Over the next six weeks, viewers will find out about the families involved the process, whose ages range from 24 to 72 and who spent an average £250,000 creating their own home.

McCloud has revealed that the inspiration for both the series and the project itself came on a trip to the Netherlands a decade ago when he and a group of UK planning officials visited the town of Almere, near Amsterdam, which is largely a self-build town.

Participants feel the pain

He said: "Our pioneers are not people with large financial cushions to float on.

"Building for the first time brings with it a lot of financial, personal and emotional stress, which this series honestly reflects.

"Relationships get really tested and some fail. I suppose we see a lot of that in Grand Designs, but goodness me, I've never seen it so repeatedly and so intensely as in this series.

"These very different households all took a big risk, but ultimately I think they've been rewarded for this with brilliant, very individual homes and a great, wild-looking street, which is sort of a test bed for self-build construction, which I think is just brilliant. No two homes are the same."

Grand Designs: The Street starts on Thursday, April 4 on Channel 4 at 9 pm