Grand opening for pioneering green project
Published by awalsh for Sanctuary Housing Association in Housing
Mayor Dan Sames, Sir Tony Baldry MP, Simon Clark and Joseph Tassell
Sir Tony Baldry MP opened a pioneering housing project at a special event in Bicester on Friday (26 October) and saw first hand how the latest technology and building techniques can help reduce fuel poverty.
Developed by leading housing and care provider Sanctuary Group, the 23 new eco homes inChapel Streetwere part funded by Cherwell District Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
The £3.3m project is part of a pilot scheme for Eco Bicester and guests were able to learn more about the environmentally-friendly features of the homes.
The properties comprise a mix of rented and shared ownership homes which have been built to levels four and five of the Code for Sustainable Homes – two levels higher than the current standards for new build homes.
The buildings include a range of energy efficient features such as solar panels, triple glazed windows, rainwater harvesting and high levels of insulation.
Sir Tony officially opened the new homes with help of 10-year-old Joseph Tassell who won a Council drawing competition last year with his inspirational solar panel design.
Sir Tony said: “It is fantastic to see this development completed. I have followed the project from the very beginning and I think the final result is really very impressive.
“Not only is it very good news that together Sanctuary and Cherwell District Council are providing more affordable housing in Bicester but by building these properties to a high environmental standard with a number of energy efficient features, residents are set to benefit from lower utility bills.
“I congratulate all those who have been involved and look forward to seeing more properties built to similar environmental standards in Bicester in the future.”
Simon Clark, Managing Director of Sanctuary Housing Services said: “This development is an excellent example of what can be achieved through good partnership working.
“These attractive homes are also packed with environmental features which are not only good for the environment, they are also helping keep residents out of fuel poverty.
“We are now monitoring the efficiency of the different eco-features with a view to rolling out some of the most effective on future housing developments.”
Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council who is the lead Member for the Eco Bicester project, said: “The Eco Bicester initiative is clearly gaining an excellent momentum, and I am very pleased that affordable housing is making such a positive and robust contribution. I would like to thank Sanctuary Group and the Homes and Communities Agency for helping to turn this aspiration into a reality.”
Councillor Debbie Pickford, Lead Member for Housing, Cherwell District Council, said: “I am delighted that an affordable housing scheme of such high quality has been delivered in Eco Bicester. These homes are the most energy efficient homes ever delivered in the District and I look forward to the results of the energy monitoring that is taking place. I am further pleased that tenants should be benefiting from lower fuel bills, and I wish the new tenants the very best of luck in their new homes.”
New artwork by British artist Suzanne O’Driscoll was also unveiled at the site. Her creations, which make reference to the stream running through the site, have been incorporated into the attractive railings surrounding part of the scheme.
Artefacts found during an archaeological dig prior to construction were also on show at the opening event, including a lead reliquary believed to have contained some of the bones of St Edburg, the Patron Saint of Bicester.