A new 195-house eco village has been given the go ahead at a former hospital site near Bristol. The eco houses will be part of the Hanham Hall development being led by building contractors Barrett Developments PLC, where the Grade II listed hospital building will be revamped into a community centre.
The planning proposal, which was submitted to the council in December 2008, also includes 2.5 hectares of agricultural land that will be split into allotments and for community amenities. In addition, a Sustainable Living and Energy Centre will be built as part of the development. A CHP power plant within the eco village, powered by a biomass boiler, will be responsible for providing the village’s hot water and electricity supplies, and will be a key component of the zero carbon development.
The houses will be built to level 6 of the English Partnerships’ Code for Sustainable Homes and is the of their first Carbon Challenge site. The code imposes challenging restrictions that the developers must adhere to, including zero or low carbon emissions and efforts to ensure the eco village is energy efficient and provides low impact living for its residents, without having a negative impact on their lifestyles. They will incorporate a renewable energy micro generation, as well as pioneering new technologies to make them even more efficient.
It is hoped that this development will become a flagship site to show how level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes can be achieved successfully, especially at a time when reducing the carbon footprint of developments is so crucial, as well as demonstrating the affordability of such projects. Every cause however has its champions and its critics. Eco villages such as this are often questioned in terms of the real impact they are having in reducing carbon emissions. After all, houses are still being built where once there was no need for them, and they are not always in the right places or for the right reasons.