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My Norwich

City’s new council housing receives ministerial visit

Goldsmith Street
Ministerial visit to Goldsmith Street.
Published on Monday, 23rd September 2019

The city’s award-winning new council homes have received another high profile visit today.

Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Esther McVey, attended the scheme following its shortlisting for the Stirling Prize – a prestigious architectural award.

As well as being a rare example of new council housing being built in the UK, all 93 homes were built to eco-efficient Passivhaus standards – ultra-low energy buildings which need minimal fuel for heating or cooling. Tenants will also enjoy the added benefit of cheaper fuel bills thanks to the eco-technology.

Properties built to ‘Passivhaus’ standard are the highest certifiable standard of energy efficiency, resulting in ultra-low energy buildings that need very little fuel for heating or cooling. The heating costs in a Passivhaus can be up to 70 per cent cheaper compared to the average UK home.

The properties were let through the council’s choice based lettings scheme, Home Options.

Designed by architects Mikhail Riches, this scheme is currently one of the largest developments of Passivhaus properties in the country, and has attracted national praise for its innovative design.

The scheme, built by Carters, consists of a mixture of 45 x 1-bedroom flats, 3 x 2-bedroom flats, 40 x 2-bedroom houses and 5 x 4-bedroom houses was completed earlier this year.

Councillor Gail Harris, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for social housing, said: “We are building ambitious developments like Goldsmith Street to meet housing need and to reduce the impact of the loss of homes sold through the Right to Buy.

“This development shows what local authorities can achieve independently, despite the prohibitive restrictions on the use of Right to Buy receipts.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with the Housing Minister, and of course to stress the importance of finding ways to make sure all new homes are sustainably built.”

Awards and accolades for the scheme include:

  • Housing Design Awards winner, 2019
  • Shortlisted for RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 (TBA 8 October)
  • Shortlisted for RIBA Neave Brown Award for Housing 2019 (TBA 8 October)
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England Norfolk Awards 2018 – winner of the Green Build Award
  • The Times – named as one of the world’s top 10 best new examples of architecture for 2018
  • Shortlisted for LGC awards