Case Study of the Month - September
A dream 38 years in the making...
Location: Hogshaw, Buckinghamshire
Land Cost: £400,000 for 52 acres of farmland
Build Cost: £385,000
Current Value: Unknown
Thirty-eight years ago, Ray Marzec dreamed of owning a rare breed’s farm. It was made possible by his vision, persistence and sheer hard work.
Meet Ray Marzec, a graphic designer, who, 38 years ago had a dream of opening a rare breeds farm. A dream which seems like a distant one became a possibility in 2002 when Ray bought a site at Hogshaw in Bucks where he began converting 3 old barns into dwellings in order to fund his dream project.
By 2012, with planning permission granted, Ray’s dream was realised and ‘Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm & Eco Centre’ was born. The land was bought by Ray at auction and planning issues they faced were to do with the use - it was complex to get across that it would be used as a visitor attraction.
Ray has a keen interest in food, art and sustainable living alongside a passion for the conservation of rare breed farm animals. As his plan evolved over the years, he set out to bring all these elements together and the vision grew into a dream of creating an eco-centre and farm which he would open to the general public.
When Ray first approached Potton he met with Self Build Consultant Neil Strong. When Neil heard about Ray’s plans initially he was sceptical, that is until he met with Ray on-site.
‘The moment I met Ray and he began explaining his plans and dreams I thought to myself, this is going to happen – Ray was too persistent for it to go any other way’ said Potton Self Build Consultant Neil Strong.
Ray, 58, said: 'My background is in graphic design. I don’t come from a rich family or one of agricultural. I understand how frustrating it is for those who want to self-build. Self build was just one element of my overall dream, so there have been many components to fit together.'
'The barn is an outstanding building that provides the stunning focal point of our visitor attraction – our Eco Centre. As it’s made from timber sourced from sustainably managed forests, it was an ideal choice and we are delighted with the results' said Ray.
Ray has had to buy and renovate various properties to raise the cash for this ultimate goal.
‘I like lots of variety and have done a lot of the work on the properties myself. In the past I’ve had five houses and I’ve changed a pub into flats for the elderly’. Ray described his rare breeds dream as ‘like a religious calling - without the religion.’
'We chose Potton because it’s a local company using new technology at the same time as having old fashioned values. We found our Self Build Consultant, Neil really friendly and informative' said Ray.
Why timber frame?
It's a good renewable material with the insulation we needed, also the timber is sustainably sourced.
Building started in June 2013 with the erection of the Potton timber-frame. The barn was made from timber sourced from sustainably-managed forests and will showcase renewable energy systems and waste water recycling.
The barn went up very quickly during last summer’s good weather, complete with photo-voltaic tiles for power and light. Inside, the barn boasts underfloor heating from a biomass boiler. Visitors to the Eco Centre will be able to see how the build took shape through info-graphics as well as learn about renewable energy systems.
The farm will have a wide variety of creatures from bees, small pets and poultry to farm animals including goats, sheep, pigs, ponies and cattle. The focal point of the site is the Eco Centre, a timber-building supplied by Potton, which houses the Eco Café, shop and events room.
It will showcase a heating system run by a biomass boiler while the photovoltaic panels on the roof will give the centre power and light. As ‘green living’, is a passion, Ray wanted to use renewable energy systems to bring power and light to the farm buildings and to re-use equipment and materials wherever possible.
The centre will be accessible to all, with slopes and a lift in the café for the disabled. The lift was a late addition and local company Gartec were able to provide a solution using their versatile Artico 7000 platform lift.
So what now? Ray says he is never going to retire and his work on the 43 acre farm will be a way of life. When asked if he would do it all over again, Ray's response was 'Yes, and definitely through Potton.'
The Potton barn will be home to the Eco Café, providing an ideal meeting place for families, ramblers, cyclists, foodies and, of course, farm visitors. The food will be locally sourced and include fruit and vegetables from the on-site gardens and orchards. The barn is a light and airy space with sweeping views across Aylesbury Vale.
Potton customers interested in building a Potton Barn are welcome to visit the centre where owner Ray is more than happy to give you a tour and discuss his experiences of working with Potton on his dream project.
There is sure to be something for everybody at this new visitor attraction. The Eco Centre at Green Dragon Rare Breeds Park and Eco Centre will open at Hogshaw near Quainton on 20th October. The grand opening for the farm will be in Spring 2015.
For more information about the Eco Centre at Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm & Eco Centre, please visit their website here.
For further information about building a Potton barn, visit our dedicated barn website here.
To read case studies from other Potton customers - click here.
Get in touch
If you have a building plot and want to discuss your self build project with a Potton expert then please get in touch. Complete our online form here or call 01767 676400 and we will be happy to help.