A West Cumbrian couple are realising a 30-year dream, after receiving the go-ahead for 41 self-build plots at Seaton.

The land had been in Mark Hodgson’s family for years, and he bought it in 1990, the same year that he met his wife Lisa.

The Woodlands development takes its name from the three-and-a-half acres of woods known as Amy’s woods, after Mark’s aunt Amy and uncle John, who used to own the land, and will remain as a memory of Amy.

At 26 and working as a scaffolder, with no prior experience of building, Mark had the vision of developing the land as an investment. However it has taken 30 years, millions of pounds and many sleepless nights to get to the stage where building work can begin at the Lowca Lane development.

Mark said he sold everything so that he could buy the plot. He said: “I sold my car, everything, right down to my leather jacket in order to raise the £25,000 to buy the land.

“I always had this mindset. I looked at the land and thought: if they can do it, I can do it.”

In the 1990s Mark’s vision for the site contravened the Local Plan. The council drew a line through the land and allowed the sale of part of it for the Hazel Grove estate.

The couple were told that they would not be able to build on the remaining part and thought that their dream was gone – along with their life savings.

Lisa said: “With all the issues and barriers put our way it was only the fact that we had invested so much into it we couldn’t turn away. It’s been an absolute nightmare. I don’t know if we’d do it again with the knowledge.”

However the couple are not easily deterred and Mark set about becoming an expert in property development, familiarising himself with all aspects and attending meetings all over the country.

He said he applied the same principle to their martial arts centre, Just Grind HFA: “I always wanted my own gym. I used the same skills in martial arts as I did with the housing development, using experts in both fields.”

They have had to wait until legislation has shifted and national laws have changed before finally getting planning approval four years ago.

Only last month they learned that their dream will definitely become a reality but it hasn’t fully sunk in yet for the pair. Lisa said: “It is surreal, we had to keep positive right from the start as we’re selling dreams. It’s been an enormous responsibility – it hasn’t sunk in for us yet.”

There will be 41 detached houses which will all be spaced out with generous plots. They have planned bungalows to be nearest the road, so that they will blend in with existing bungalows and do not overpower the area.

Getting the utilities in has been a sticking point, but work with United Utilities is underway, and once the services and roads have gone in the plot sales can go through.

So far they have spent over £2million on the development. As there is no social housing on the land Mark has had to pay £340,000 to Allerdale Council and £105,000 to Seaton Junior School for a new classroom. Working with an investor has helped them to do work prior to selling the plots. They have spent £1.5million for services and street lights and not forgetting the cost for solicitors and architects, they had spent over £200,000 before they actually got on the site.

Plots are proving popular, with only 10 left which range from £80,000 to £120,000.

People buy the plot and then self build, but Mark and Lisa can point people in the right direction with design and build and can help and guide them towards who they need to speak to, such as project managers.

Contact Mark and Lisa via The Woodlands Facebook page for more information on the remaining plots.