Is Tommy's eco-home to become a council house?

EXCLUSIVE by John ElworthyGROUND Force star Tommy Walsh's eco friendly house in the Fens -just days away from being finished- could become one of the country's most exciting and innovative council homes.

EXCLUSIVE by John Elworthy

GROUND Force star Tommy Walsh's eco friendly house in the Fens -just days away from being finished- could become one of the country's most exciting and innovative council homes.

Mr Walsh revealed today (Fri) that Fenland District Council is seriously considering buying the home in March to act as a showcase for any builder, home owner or architect keen to reduce their carbon footprint.

"It is the most energy efficient ever designed and built in Fenland," said Mr Walsh who says the district council is keen to let others in on the secret.

Interest in the idea was confirmed by a spokesman for Fenland District Council who said "the suggestion has been made to us that we buy the house. We are currently looking at ways of funding this proposal"

But if the council doesn't step in to buy, he feels confident there will be no shortage of takers for the house which comes complete with £10,000 worth of furnishings.

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Mr Walsh is sweating on completing the project next week- the end of his 60 day target for the home he built for £60,000 on land which cost him £60,000.

Although he believes the completed property could be worth £200,000, he plans an open day in July for anyone interested in its design features to take a look for themselves.

TV cameras have followed his programme for a ten week series beginning on the Discovery Channel later in the year- and the programme could be later be seen in America and Europe.

"It's been a massive effort and I shall be filming the final bits in the next few days," he said. "If it's not finished then so be it. We'll simply tell viewers the truth, as it is."

The reality is, though, that a spiral staircase, some internal fitting out to the kitchen and two toilets, and painting and decorating are all that remains. The garden and patio will be finished later.

Financing of the project came via Mr Walsh himself who recruited the labour force and has paid for their stay at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March- who 'rewarded' his booking by delivering complimentary sandwiches every day to his building site.

Everything from materials including window frames to recycled oak sleepers and sweet chestnut exterior cladding has been chosen for an environmentally friendly effect.

And many eco friendly items including a rainwater harvester to extra thick insulation has been incorporated to keep running costs to a minimum- Mr Walsh estimates a fuel bill per annum of less than £200.

"The trouble is today people don't insist enough," he said. "If you went to a restaurant and had a bad meal you could quickly enough complain. But no one seems to complain about poor design and inadequate features in many homes- even though this is the biggest thing you'll ever buy."

He compares the heat saving virtues of his home to a tea pot being covered with a cosy "for when you pour some tea, the rest of the tea stays hot. That's the same with this house- you lose some heat but the rest of the house is still warm."

The house in the Fens has, he says, been his most ambitious project to date and he has put in a long week to see the house come to fruition.

"I've lost at least a stone in weight since it started- I'm now looking forward to a holiday," he said.