A DEVELOPMENT of 52 Passivhaus homes for local people is a step closer as part of North Somerset Council’s ambitions to tackle the climate emergency and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

A build lease agreement was exchanged today (Friday, August 18) by the council and Stonewood Homes to deliver the scheme on council-owned land south of The Uplands, Nailsea.

Construction on the Elm Grove scheme will start soon and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

A show home is planned for launch in spring 2024 and the first homes are due to be available for occupation by the end of 2024.

The project, which secured planning approval in February 2021, will be a flagship for high quality, sustainable housing and include:

  • 20 homes to meet local demand for affordable housing, including rented and shared ownership, to be managed by Alliance Homes.
  • 17 adaptable or accessible homes for people with mobility difficulties or for those who develop them.
  • All homes will be Passivhaus certified, the highest standard of energy efficiency meaning lower carbon and lower energy bills for residents.
  • A higher-than-usual proportion of two-bedroom homes, as well as eight bungalows and features designed to enable home-working and/or downsizing.
  • All homes are at least 10 per cent bigger than required by National Space Standards.
  • Solar panels and electric vehicle charging points in all homes.

The project has been supported by a £557k grant from the Government’s Local Authority Accelerated Construction fund, administered by Homes England, a £147k grant from the One Public Estate Land Release Fund and around £128k in Homes England capacity funding.

Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member for spatial planning, placemaking and economy, said: “This scheme demonstrates that it is possible to deliver much-needed affordable housing for local people, while at the same time securing innovative design, quality and improved sustainability.

"By delivering on the council’s land, at an allocated site, we are helping to reduce pressure for speculative development at unplanned and less sustainable locations.”

Stonewood Homes will create local jobs, apprenticeships, work placements, local contract awards, promotion of local businesses and funding to local schools.

Stonewood director James Petherick said: “Elm Grove will be an exemplar scheme with what we believe is the largest mixed tenure Passivhaus new housing scheme in the South West.

"Sustainability extends beyond the fabric of these low energy homes; we are also creating open spaces that will encourage community interaction within Elm Grove and the wider community."