Affordable green homes just the beginning of net-zero ambitions for Castle Point Borough Council

The first of a new wave of energy-efficient affordable homes could be built on Canvey Island next year as part of plans to drive net-zero sustainability in Castle Point.

Proposals submitted to Castle Point Borough Council are the first to include air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points for a new residential development within the borough.

Heat pumps are low-carbon alternatives to traditional gas or oil boilers and result in lower energy costs for homeowners. They are installed outside the home and take heat from surrounding ground or air, and then increase the temperature, to provide central heating and hot water.

From 2025, developers will be encouraged by the government to fit air or ground-source heat pumps in new homes. It follows low take-up of heat pumps: only 27,000 were installed in UK homes in 2019, compared to 1.7 million gas boilers.

Castle Point Borough Council has appointed Ingleton Wood, a property and construction consultancy based in Colchester and Billericay, to provide services including architectural, planning, sustainability, and mechanical and electrical (M&E) design as part of its residential housing programme.

David Thompson, architect and director at Ingleton Wood, said: “Castle Point Borough Council is being very proactive in embracing this new heat pump technology before they become the norm. The sustainable housing developments are also being designed to help ease the acute housing shortage facing the borough.”

Ingleton Wood has submitted proposals to build eco-friendly affordable homes within the borough. Most sites likely to be used are disused garage parking courts where anti-social behaviour has been reported.

The first three proposals in Cedar Road, Linden Way and Link Road, all on Canvey Island, have been approved – providing the first nine houses. Construction at Cedar Road is due to start in April 2022 and complete by the end of next year. The Linden Way and Central Avenue developments are set to start later in 2022.

Commenting on the council’s overall residential development programme and sustainability ambitions, David Randerson, housing development and finance manager at Castle Point Borough Council, said: “We need a lot of public education on heat pumps but they are unquestionably the future.

“We have to run our homes differently. We all need to cut our carbon emissions and become more energy efficient. That’s why we’re trying to get ahead of the game by installing eco-friendly heat pumps in all our new homes across Castle Point before it’s mandatory in 2025.

“Success will also depend on people adapting to new technology but we’ve seen society adapt really well to wearing face masks during the pandemic. Hopefully this can be replicated with heat pumps, electric vehicles and other measures to help save the planet.”

Mick Ferris

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