ProjectsHCLT Projects In Development
The Barton Road Development
Site In Barton Road
Barton Road, Hereford
This is a small site that the council have been seeking for some twelve years to dispose of and see used for affordable housing.
We have prepared a pre-planning application for this site, working with Agile Homes, but as the council is now asking us to pay for pre-planning advice (due to financial constraints facing the overall council), the housing department is kindly using some of their budget to allow them to discuss our plans with the planners and come back to us. It may still mean that we will need to provide finance for pre-planning advice. If the advice we receive back from the planners via the housing officers is positive, they are saying that they will then need to do a full governance report on the transfer/selling of the land to us and the outcome of this cannot be prejudged.
The main conundrums regarding planning are firstly that we are proposing a no-car scheme, and secondly the position of the site on a bend on a busy road and what traffic problems this may cause during construction.
A no-car scheme is being proposed because it would be highly dangerous for cars to exit the site onto Barton Road, there is little available space on the site that would allow for garages/parking, and as the homes would be only a ten-minute walk from the city centre and located adjacent to the Great Western Way pedestrian and cycle route. We would aim to build quality bike stores, and the homes, being 1 bed x 2 person (the size most required for affordable housing in this part of the city), which would suit younger singles or couples.
To address the problems of managing the construction on the site, we have developed a proposal that uses off-site construction for the core of the four homes we are proposing, the elements of which should be able to be delivered at a weekend and which can be erected in some five hours for each home on screw piles and sleeper beams that will already have been installed. Local trades can then complete the fitting out, using access from the back of the site.
As for the homes’ green credentials/sustainability, the panels used to assemble the buildings are made of natural, photosynthetic materials (timber and straw), so each building captures carbon (at around 730 kgs of atmospheric carbon / sq m of building). It is estimated that the amount of captured carbon in each home provides a 16-year ‘head start’ on Building Regulation requirements in relation to operational energy. The homes are designed to minimise thermal bridges and they exceed Part L of the Building Regulations, can achieve an EPC A rating and meet Future Homes standards 2025. The build system was used in the Leeds Low Impact Living Affordable Community (LILAC) development completed in 2013 and which is now home for 20 households. The University of Leeds and University of Westminster worked to assess the benefits and impacts of LILAC (see https://lilac.coop/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Lilac-Impact-July-2021.pdf). Some of the findings of the assessment were that a Lilac household as compared with an average household, had a 65% less carbon footprint, used 66% less electricity and gas, generated 74% less carbon emissions from their use of electricity and gas, and used 48% less water.