14 July 2017

Unique housing development reaches topping out landmark

Work at Plymouth Community Homes’ (PCH) low-energy Passivhaus site has reached a significant new stage. Building contractor Mi-space has fixed the first tiles to the roof of one of the new homes at the development in Bodmin Road, Whitleigh.

PCH and Mi-space Living (part of the Midas Group) marked the occasion with a topping out ceremony, where they hoisted a yew tree to the top of the structure.

They invited guests to view the home, one of 72 being built to Passivhaus design principles – a unique method of construction which reduces energy bills by improving insulation.

The £11.6m development, which will be marketed as Primrose Park, includes 49 homes for affordable rent and 23 for shared ownership with SO Living.

The Homes and Communities Agency provided £2.73m of subsidy to support delivery of the new homes.

The site, which was formerly occupied by Woodland and Hillside Schools, was brought to the market by Plymouth City Council, as part of its Plan for Homes initiative. PCH has continued to work closely with the city council on the project.

Throughout construction, which began last year, Mi-space has liaised closely with local schools and organisations.

Pupils from nearby Brook Green Centre for Learning have visited the site and Mi-space staff have visited Sir John Hunt Community College to talk about the scheme.  Mi-space has also been working with Shekinah Mission to help people find work.

Nick Jackson, PCH Director of Business Services and Development, said: “It’s exciting to reach this milestone. These homes are being constructed to exceptionally-high standards which is good news for tenants and the environment.

“Passivhaus homes are key to tackling fuel poverty and we’re pleased to be part of that.

“Primrose Park is one of the largest such Passivhaus sites in the country and we’re sure other housing associations and housebuilders will be looking to it as a point of reference for future developments.”

Rob Bradley, Executive Director, Midas Group, said: “As of one of the largest independent construction companies in the South West, Mi-space Living is delighted to reach the milestone of topping out at Bodmin Road.

“There is much to celebrate on this scheme – the 72 shared ownership and affordable homes are built to Passivhaus energy efficient standards and will provide much-needed accommodation in Plymouth.

“The site currently recycles 100% of its waste – therefore no contribution to landfill – and we are pleased to support the community of Plymouth by providing training and work opportunities to local disadvantaged people, amongst other community initiatives.”

Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery for Plymouth City Council, said: “I have been keeping a close eye on this development and to see such progress is especially pleasing.

“As a council, we are always looking for ways to grow the city while at the same time, promote a greener Plymouth and this development ticks those two very important boxes.

“I can't wait to see the first families move in here and hope that it will inspire other green building initiatives across the city.”

Versha Koria, the HCA’s Senior Specialist, Home Ownership and Supply, added: “We know schemes like this Passivhaus development require some involvement from residents to learn the control systems but it’s always worth it. I look forward to seeing the completed homes and the impact it will have on residents’ energy bills. A successful outcome would mean the HCA’s investment of £2.73m has been well spent.”

Work is due to be completed in spring 2018.

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