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SWT approves new zero carbon affordable homes

02 December 2020 : Council news, Housing news

SWT has given the go ahead for new zero carbon social housing in Minehead and Taunton.
The proposals approved at a Special Full Council Meeting on Tuesday 1 December, include the redevelopment of council-owned land to provide 54 housing units at Seaward Way, Minehead and a further 11 units at the old Oxford Inn site on the corner of Roman Road and Outer Circle in Taunton.
Subject to local consultations and subsequent planning approval, each unit will be built to national space standards – between 5 and 14 per cent larger than many developer house types – and will include a number of fully wheelchair accessible properties. 
Prospective tenants will benefit from very energy efficient housing, with low energy bills and affordable rents set between 60% and 80% of market rates.
Both developments will be used as exemplar schemes to showcase the latest innovations in environmentally friendly construction and design, and will incorporate a comprehensive data collection regime to benchmark energy and carbon use, enabling customers and development partners to support and adopt a higher standard in building regulations.
Construction will follow the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) standard, using a ‘fabric first approach’, meaning buildings will be air tight with insulation nearly twice the thickness of current standards. 
Labour and materials will be sourced locally and off-site construction methods will be employed, thereby reducing build time and carbon and energy use.
Energy requirements for both sites will be fossil fuel free.  Hot water and central heating will be supplied primarily using on-site renewable sources.  Charge points for electric vehicles will also be provided.
Based on the housing need for Minehead, the scheme mix proposed for Seaward Way includes houses, flats and chalet bungalows, with adapted options for disabled residents for the latter two types.  A play area space will also be included.
Funding for Seaward Way has been secured as part of a Section 106 agreement with EDF for Hinkley Point C power station and developer contributions for affordable housing at Ellicombe Meadow. 
Furthermore, Homes England is considering an application to fund access onto the site, along with infrastructure as part of a commercial space which is also proposed.
The scheme mix for Oxford Inn proposes 9 flats and 2 houses as the most viable approach.  Replacement of the derelict buildings that currently occupy this site will improve the appearance of this prominent corner location. 
Funding will be determined once the finalised design has received planning approval and tenders have been received.
Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Fran Smith, said: “We're delighted to be able to take the next steps on our journey to reaching a net zero carbon district by converting these dilapidated and unused sites into inclusive, affordable and energy-efficient housing for our residents.
“We've committed to delivering 1,000 new homes over next 30 years, of which at least 115 of these, including those proposed here, will exceed current building standards as ‘exemplar zero carbon homes’.
“What's more, the development proposed for Minehead will represent the first council homes to be built in West Somerset for over 30 years, of which, in the spirit of future growth, the final development address will be aptly named ‘Rainbow Way’!
“Pending consultation and planning approval, the building work for Seaward Way and Oxford Inn is projected to commence Summer 2021 and Spring 2022, completing Summer 2023 and Spring 2023 respectively.”