England’s most exclusive community is green…kind of

With sightings of Kylie Minogue, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and interest from numerous pro footballers and their wives, Lower Mills Estate, a property so far consisting of 214 individually-built homes, has been declared by The Independent as the “eco-estate extraordinaire and Britain’s most exclusive community.”

Owner Jeremy Paxton is mum on what other stars live there or have shown interest, but when one eco-home, The Orchid, (modeled after Bee Orchids which grow wild on the property) recently went for £7.2 million (a record in the English countryside), buyers would almost have to be famous to be able to put up that kind of scratch. 

All he would say on the matter was, "The reason we get so many celebrities and well-known people coming here is because one of the main reasons they come is for the privacy," he explains. "Some of the names do get out, but they don't come from me. If I start telling the press who I have living here then I'm going to lose business."

There’s some play on the glass houses/ throwing rocks cliche to be made here about rockers living in eco houses, but it’s just not coming to me today, people.

Here are some of the ways Lower Mills is green: Two-thirds of the land is a nature reserve home to 3,000 species, which will never be built on. Local foods are sold at the village shop, and plans are under way to reconstruct a pub from elsewhere that has closed down, bringing it to Lower Mills brick by brick, effectively recycling the entire pub.

Here are some of the ways it’s not so green. (So attention to all those cynical columnists I find in my online travels who think they’re being all rebellious and going “against the grain” by mocking green efforts and doubting global warming. Here you go—have at it:) Outdoor clotheslines are forbidden, for one thing. Also, the community is not year-round, everyone must be gone in January so as not to disturb bird nesting and other wildlife, so the homes in the community can only be considered second homes. (Either that or the residents have to jet off elsewhere for a month.)

The range in not-green to green is in evidence in two consecutive sentences from Paxton, describing the concierge-like service the community offers: “We had one guy who wanted to fly to France in a private jet to go for lunch and we sorted that for him. But at the other end of the scale we get requests to fix punctures on people's bikes.”


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