Mr Malik, originally from Delhi, India, immigrated to the UK with his and another family in 2002. They quickly created links and networks within Hounslow and soon found themselves in a group of friends consisting of 11 families.
Astonishingly the friends had all moved to the UK from the same city in India, but it’s only when they arrived in in London that they met and became lifelong friends.
For Mr Malik and his friends, living in the same town wasn’t enough. They moved to Slough where the families resided on the same street for the past 3 years, and now seven families from the group have decided to buy plots of land next to each other at Graven Hill.
Mr Malik said: “When we first heard about Graven Hill we saw a golden opportunity to come together and build our own community. We didn’t want to purchase bog standard new builds, and we’re all really interested in the prospect of self-building.
“We currently live on the same street in Slough in town houses, but the designs of our homes don’t match our lifestyles. We love nothing more than coming together as a group for events and cultural festivals but our houses aren’t practical enough for that.”
The families know the area well, having been to Bicester Village on many occasions. With the children beginning to grow up and wanting more access to an outdoorsy lifestyle the group decided to relocate to Graven Hill. Escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life will allow Mr Malik and the group to create their community, and to enjoy the perfect balance between urban and rural living.
Mr Malik also said: “We wanted to be able to design homes to work around our lifestyles and families, and not the other way round. Rather than picking an off the shelf house and making it work, we now have the opportunity to create homes that work for us, now and in the future. We are going to be living as a group, on the same street, but ultimately each home will be as individual as the family living in it.
“We would encourage other families or friends who might be considering a joint venture like this to just do it. With all of our families living in India, we have become each other’s family. We enjoy spending time together and support each other through challenging times. Our friendship is built on community spirit, and the idea that should we need it; help is always around the corner, literally. It also helps to know that you have a readymade babysitter on your doorstep!”
Self-building is common place in a number of countries around the world including India, making Graven Hill an easy choice for the group of friends. Although they won’t be hands on in terms of building, they will work with architects and construction companies to ensure that their individual visions for homes will be understood.
Work is due to start on site early next year, and the families hope to move in later next year. For now, seven of the eleven families have reserved plots, but it’s hoped that over the years all eleven families will relocate and strengthen their already enviable community.