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Cob building in France, anyone?  RSS feed

 
Rosa Bo
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I was wondering if anyone here has any advice re cob building in France, specifically on land that is not 'building land' (fiancé and I just can't afford that).

I did find intricate legal documents that address these concerns, which I'm sure are useful, but for now I just would like to see other people's real-life experiences. There seem to be so many variables that we are a bit lost with it - e.g. if you are lucky with the mayor, do countrywide rules even matter that much... That's the impression I get - mayor's opinion and happy neighbours are more important than anything else.

Especially as foreigners, I don't think we can get away with building - even if it's cob - on agricultural or other non-building land. Except, this seems to be an option if you are conducting agricultural business. I'm afraid that this doesn't apply to immigrants, though.

I found some very positive messages about cob building in France (see below) and the French being supportive of sustainable development, but I also read about France being a bureaucratic minefield and what not...

https://www.angloinfo.com/brittany/discussions/financial-legal/cob-and-straw-bale-construction

Does anyone have a faint idea of what our best chances are? We need to come up with a strategy and I don't expect it to be easy...

Thanks so much in advance.

And if you know anyone who is doing/has done this in France, we would love to know more!

-Rosa
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Hi Rosa
Yup they just love regulations here in France
A lot in my experiance depends on where you are I know some folks who have used cob but not in a semi legal way  , yurts being more popular .
Where abouts are you or are you looking to stay ? I have known prices of less than 50k for properties that need some work with a couple of acres not far from where I am at the moment

David
 
Rosa Bo
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Hi David, thanks for your message! Well, at least we are used to the level of regulations based on our experience in the Netherlands and UK.

We are actually looking at Bretagne - do you perhaps know if that would be a favourable region/area? Or are others better? I'm sure I've read some good things about the west in terms of eco folks, but that could have been Normandie... In the end it's more about the opportunity that comes up than the location.

Our plan is to live in a tipi for as long as it would take to build a cob house (huge project after all), so that's similar to a yurt.

I forgot to add that we have also thought about buying a ruin as a 'shortcut' to (easier) permission for a cob house. We would probably have to increase our budget, though (around 50k means we have to pay some part through a loan).

Rosa
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Brittany is nice particularly if you are into music and dancing like we are
However near the coast is very popular plus near the big towns .
I would draw a big circle round Rennes and fifteen km from the coast if I was looking for a place myself .
Central Brittany is so much cheaper plus if you are bringing children with you or look like you might have some there are many villages in rural France suffering from depopulation who desperately want couples with children to settle there to keep the schools viable . ( just info for other folks reading this thread if this doesn't apply to you .) and consequently you would get a better hearing from the local mayor if you talk about planning .
As for other areas north Anjou south normany ( where we live ) or North Vandee south Anjou are also unfashionable , cheap , good land , climate not too hot .
One word of warning France is undergoing a change of governance where by many of these small districts are being amalgamated into large districts thus lessening the powers of the little mayors ( both a good thing and a bad thing ) and hopefully things may be more professional or at least consistent so it might be prudent to get any agreements in writing should you arrange any ......flexibility
 
Peter Shield
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Location: Maisons, Aude, France
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If you are registered as Exploitants Agricole then you have the same rights, and obligations, as French citizens.

As for the cob house, it depends on whether it is classified as a temporary structure or a permanent one. This makes a big difference so it is worth trying to find out. A temporary structure, such as my poly tunnels, do not need a building permit. You have to make a declaration du travail, this can still be turned down by the local Mayor or planning authority, but usually only in environmental grounds.

FYI agricultural land sells at 500E per hectare here in the Haut Corbieres. Check with SAFER who will tell you the average price per hecatre of land in ech department of france

All the best

Pete
 
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