Zero carbon at its biggest and best

Construction of Britain’s largest development of zero carbon homes is expected to start soon following approval of the scheme by Peterborough City Council’s planning and environmental protection committee.

The homes in Peterborough are being delivered as part of the Government’s Carbon Challenge programme and will be managed by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Morris Homes, working with sustainable architecture specialist Browne Smith Baker and innovative landscape architects Barnes Walker, will build 295 homes to Level 6 of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes on a 17 acre (seven hectare) former factory site close to Peterborough United’s London Road football ground in Fletton.

The sustainable development will provide a mixture of 63 two bedroom, 90 three bedroom and 68 four bedroom houses plus 74 two bedroom apartments in a seven-storey block. The apartment block, complete with a grass roof and green walling, will face on to London Road and include a 278sq metre (3,000sq ft) food store and parking space for cars and cycles.

No less than 40% (72 houses and 48 apartments) will be offered under social rented or shared ownership terms to people on the housing needs list. This is enabled by a grant of £7.8 million from the HCA’s National Affordable Housing Programme 2009/10.

Sustainable design

The scheme will include public open space and a sustainable urban drainage system. An ecological gabion wall (made from wire cages filled with crushed recycled material, sustainable rock and climbing plants) will form a green spine along its northern boundary with the Norwich to Birmingham rail line, providing specialist habitats to increase biodiversity and reduce noise.

Terry Fuller, Executive Director for the HCA in the East and South East, said: “This is great news for Peterborough and the industry. The zero carbon status aims to create new homes and places that are appealing, attractive and point the way to how we could all live in the future. The industry has to respond to climate change and planning approval on this development enables fast-track delivery of more zero carbon homes in England.”

Councillor Samantha Dalton, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for environment capital, said: “This development underlines Peterborough’s environment capital credentials and its capacity to deliver innovative projects, demonstrating how carbon emissions can be reduced nationally and globally. It forms an important first stage in a long-standing vision for regenerating the South Bank of Peterborough’s River Nene.”

Meet the challenge

In the UK, more than a quarter of all carbon emissions come from existing residential properties. This raises the challenge of delivering millions of new homes and integrated communities in a more sustainable way, without adding to the UK’s carbon emissions.

In response to this challenge, the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes requires the building industry to make ever greater reductions in carbon emissions over coming years with all new homes being built to zero carbon standards after 2016.

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