Hodson’s high hopes for Hull heroes’ village

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 22 Feb 2018

A CLEETHORPES architect is behind ambitious plans for an £8 million “Veteran’s Village” in the region, billed as a world first on the scale. 

Mark Hodson is behind designs for the project, which would see 58 modular-build properties being constructed along with a new horticultural therapy centre to help ex-military personnel adapt to life after service in the armed forces, at a dedicated site in Hull.

The single-storey homes are expected to provide temporary accommodation, and DIY SOS frontman Nick Knowles is now an ambassador for Hull 4 Heroes, the charity behind the scheme.

Read more: Local architect highlights Grimsby's grand designs

Mr Hodson, the head of the eponymous Yarra Road practice, was referred to founder Paul Matson, having impressed with work for the Goodwin Development Trust in the city. 

The architect, who studied in Hull and has established a second office there, said: “They were looking for someone who could create and innovative and interesting design with sustainability at the core, and we were recommended. 

“They are a really good, solid group, and we have had a meeting with Nick Knowles, and he is very supportive of the scheme and driving it in the background. The whole organisation is fantastic, and they have got themselves very well positioned with the local authority and good representation. There is a lot of expertise on board.”

Proposals for the veterans' village

Mr Matson is a former soldier, and registered the charity two years ago. He was initially inspired to set up the charity after volunteering to take part in a special edition of DIY SOS, which involved creating a veterans’ street in Manchester by renovating derelict properties – the one where Prince William and Prince Harry pitched up. 

Since then it has helped more than 50 ex-servicemen and women through various projects.

Mr Hodson said: “It is great to lend the expertise and make sure it is appropriate. We are a small piece but a significant one.”

Across two sites, one 13 acres, and another eight acres, the latter, pictured above, is described as very visible. “This is an interesting one because we are looking at open-plan timber-frame so the veterans can get involved in the construction. It will encourage socialising, and they will actually be able to see and show where they have helped build. There will be a lot of light and space.”

Read more: Immingham power plant ventures into battery storage

Mr Hodson said 50 per cent of the practice’s work was now in Hull, having played a big role in the Fruit Market regeneration, following on from the inner-city eco-development with Goodwin.  

“We are very comfortable with pan-Humber work,” he said. “I went to university in Hull and lived there for a while. It has been a really positive time in the last three years, since opening the office.” 

Plans for the village went on display this week, with a public meeting next week, ahead of a planning application being submitted later this year.

Mr Matson, who was at Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner this month, as a chosen fundraising beneficiary, said: “Hull 4 Heroes has a great team of local and dedicated volunteers along with a passionate project team of professionals who are excited about engaging with the local residents to create a legacy that we can be proud of.”

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