Carbon zero council housing development approved for Brentwood

Brentwood Borough Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee has granted permission for the development of Brookfield Close, Hutton, which will see 62 zero carbon homes delivered on the site as part of a programme to develop 185 new homes on council owned land.

Planning and Licensing Committee chairman, Councillor Jon Cloke, said; “This is a major innovation from the council to provide council housing at a level not seen since the 1940s.

“The development is being flagged nationally as the way to do a carbon zero development. The emphasis on zero carbon in use – which means the amount of carbon emissions associated with the properties’ operational energy is zero or negative – is so important for the green agenda and of course the health of those living in the homes and the environment overall.”

The project is part of the Strategic Housing Delivery Plan that will see 31 existing homes and disused garages replaced with homes that offer ground source heat pumps for heating, maximise solar energy, and capture heat from waste water to revert into energy again.

The designs for the homes will centre around improving air quality to help support residents’ health, particularly those with asthma.

Environment, Enforcement and Housing Committee chair, Cllr Maria Pearson said; “I am delighted that permission has been granted so we can now get going on making this a reality and helping families in the borough move into the properties that make up this fabulous cutting edge scheme.

“Courage Court will now be refurbished to provide 22 flats together with 16 new built homes. Of the new homes 70% will be affordable housing, that’s 44 properties which will become available to help relieve the housing shortage we face.

“Brookfield Close will feature green infrastructure with community and private green spaces, an outdoor gym, water feature, children’s play areas and allotments – which all contribute dramatically to individual and community wellbeing.”

Brookfield Close will be the first scheme under the council’s Small Sites Affordable Homes Programme which aims to better utilise land and assets to deliver genuinely affordable homes for local residents on brownfield sites over a 7 year period. Phase 1 is expected to achieve at least 100 new homes.

Cllr Pearson added; “We promised to prioritise and deliver carbon reduction schemes and accessible homes for the borough that best match the environmental green space that makes Brentwood so special.

“The Brookfield Close proposals aim to deliver carbon zero ‘in use’ homes once occupied, and this is just the start. We are already undertaking assessments of other potential sites for similar future proofed housing as part of our commitment to provide 350 dwellings a year.”

Ian Winslet, Director at ARK Consultancy said “We predict that residents’ fuel bills in these homes will drop to just £100 a year which is a significant contribution to cutting fuel poverty.

“The development has already attracted regional attention and has been identified by Essex County Council as an exemplar development to be recognised in the soon to be published climate commission report. The development creates a strong sense of place using the arrangement of streets and green spaces to provide an attractive neighbourhood setting that is safe, inclusive and also accessible.

“We will be delivering, if possible, a place to encourage sustainable travel, including provision of cycle storage, electrical vehicle charging points, as well as a parking space designated for a green community bus in the future.”

Ahead of the application being approved on Tuesday June 29, the site has been assessed, a master plan prepared and residents consulted. A webinar on the proposals can be seen at www.brookfieldclosehutton.co.uk

Mick Ferris

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