Todmorden Strawbale Hotel

Location: Todmorden, West Yorkshire
Timeframe: In Progress
Cost: TBC
Our Involvement: Concept Design
Floor area: 3000m2
Construction Method: Loadbearing Strawbale

Straw Works has designed a proposal for the first UK strawbale Hotel and one of only a handful in the world. It is designed so that it can be a unique learning experience for the people of Todmorden to build, and the School of Natural Building hopes that as many local people as possible will be able to get involved and help build it. Barbara Jones of Straw Works and SNaB, Mary Clear of Incredible Edible Todmorden, and Penny Marrington, Green party, are behind this venture and have set up a BenCom to make it possible. The design was funded by a grant from the Reaps Moss Windfarm Trust, and it is hoped that the land where it is to be sited will be given by Calderdale Council to the local Community Land Trust so that this Hotel design can then gain planning permission and fund raising can begin.

Bringing affordable beautiful Accommodation to Todmorden’s Visitors!

With backing from Todmorden Town Council and Incredible Edible we have some force behind us for this project,  we are determined to secure a necessary plot from one of the vacant plots in Todmorden. It will significantly boost our campaign to have an actual design, with permission, as we will be crowd funding for the cost of the build itself.


The CA transfer process is in progress, Todmorden Town Council are handling this together with the costs and have just sent a letter to Calderdale and are awaiting a reply, which should come in the coming weeks.  However, if we are not successful with the CA we are determined to fund-raise to buy the land.  Having a design already will make a big difference to this, the land will be transferred to Todmorden Town Council until the not-for-profit organisation that will run it is set up.

We know that the preferred site was purchased for the people of Todmorden by Yorkshire Forward before it was axed for £225,000.  We do not know what Calderdale would ask for it, but we hope they will be mindful of the way the land was originally purchased.

The Plan
We envisage a 2 storey building approx. 30m x 50m with a ground floor comprising reception area, conference room, meeting rooms/workshop spaces/starter studios and about 40 rooms upstairs of varying sizes offering low cost accommodation and more luxurious rooms to cater for differing needs.  These rooms would also double as offices.  Rooms are expected to be themed by local artists and companies.  The design will allow for phased building depending on fund-raising.

The hotel will be run by a not-for-profit organisation comprised of local interest groups including Todmorden Town Council, Incredible Edible and SNaB.  The make-up of the Cooperative will emerge as the fund-raising progresses, but it will be a Community run and community benefiting hotel.

Todmorden is desperate for more accommodation!  We are a popular tourist destination and visitors have to go to nearby towns to stay as there is not enough provision.  A Community hotel, with function rooms for community use, would make a huge difference to this need.  It is intended that overnight stays would be set at affordable rates so that local people could also use the hotel for their own guests, as much housing in Todmorden is traditionally small with no spare bedrooms.  The Hotel will be built entirely of natural materials, providing a showcase for this to others, and creating a tourist attraction in itself that will benefit the economics of Todmorden.  It is intended that the Community Hotel will not offer food, encouraging guests to use local restaurants, cafes and take-aways.  It will be set at the heart of Pollination Street, where Incredible Edible also use the space for activities and we have a tradition of local festivals.
A community Hotel will provide tourist accommodation for visitors to the town, extra accommodation for local people who have no spare rooms for their guests and a focal point for community activities.

Working in conjunction with the outdoor space of Pollination Street, and the existing facilities of the Methodist Hall.

Together Todmorden would be able to host festivals and conferences and the whole complex and idea would provide interest, volunteer and work opportunities for local people.

The build itself would enable locals to participate and learn natural building skills.