Floating around Iden

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Iden resident James Strangeways on the left, with Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud (centre) and architect Ben Hepplethwaite (right)

Iden “resident” James Strangeways (above left in photo) popped up on Channel 4’s “Grand Designs” this week with a house on stilts that looks more like a boat and seems to float above the ground . . . and which was mainly built from wood (as boats are). James, restless by nature, had spent many years pottering around on boats and wanted to be near the water. He has now parked himself alongside the River Rother near his brother Christopher’s farm, well populated with organically reared lambs, writes Charles Harkness.

The unique house, designed by nephew Ben Hebblethwaite (on right in photo), is up on stilts because, partly, as happened last year, parts of the Marsh can flood under heavy rain, and the below sea level land takes time to drain off that excess water and the river may appear to spread out just a little bit. The house has a number of special features including an upside down roof which drains off into a rooftop garden. It has green elements such as solar panels and has lots of balconies for viewing the horizon. But one idea, for a ship’s crow’s nest giving even more distant views, has not yet left the drawing board. (Source: Channel 4)