A Norwich City Council-owned development company is ready to get underway with its first project, following approval of a business plan by the authority’s cabinet.
The Regeneration Company Ltd has been established with the aims of providing an income stream for the council’s general fund, creating local job opportunities and delivering homes for the city’s growing population.
In October last year, the council’s cabinet resolved to transfer the land and loan funds to the company for its first project – a 172-unit housing development at Three Score in Bowthorpe.
Councillor Mike Stonard, cabinet member for resources and income generation, said: “Approval of this business plan means that we can get underway with work at Three Score and start to realise significant benefits for the city through The Regeneration Company.
“This approach will not only begin to address the local need for new homes but provide some of the financial resources needed to safeguard our frontline services on which so many people rely.”
The development will see 112 of the properties built to Passivhaus standards – an approach that produces ultra-low energy buildings that need very little fuel for heating or cooling.
Benedict Binns, associate director of Barron and Smith Architects, who have designed, project managed and procured the development, said: “This will be a ground-breaking scheme that combines architectural flair and the highest standards of sustainability in order to deliver an increase in private and social housing in the city. It will also make it one of the largest Passivhaus schemes in the UK.”
Due to the specialist nature of Passivhaus construction and design, a ‘Fabric First Framework’ of contractors that have the necessary expertise to carry out this type of work has been set up. This will be managed by Barron and Smith and can also be used by other local authorities wanting to carry out similar projects.
Following a tender process, RG Carter has been appointed to build the initial phase of homes, which received planning approval last May (2015).
Saul Humphrey, regional director, said: “R G Carter is delighted to have secured this contract and we look forward to delivering this important and innovative scheme. Three Score demonstrates that Norwich City Council’s Fabric First Framework is at the forefront of sustainable housebuilding nationally and we applaud the council for their vision and foresight in putting sustainable homes right at the heart of their agenda.”
Grant Keys, director and general manager of R G Carter, added: “Passivhaus certification has become a benchmark for sustainable construction in recent years and at R G Carter we have invested heavily in specialised training and innovative new construction techniques. Three Score is a really special project to be involved with because it one of the largest schemes of its kind and will deliver more certified Passivhaus homes than any development built to date in the UK.”
Plans also include 33 per cent affordable housing (85 per cent social rent, 15 per cent shared equity), with the remainder of the units being private to be sold or rented on the private market by the company.
Sequence will be acting as sales agents for the homes, after being appointed by NPS.
Infrastructure to serve the site as a whole, including a spine road, is currently being built. This received £2.5m of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) as part of its partnership with Norwich City Council. Overall, HCA investment in the area will help create around 1,000 new homes within the wider development.
Work is due to start on the new homes at Three Score in late summer this year.