Going green in a Lancashire development
Building more homes across the UK is a major priority that has received plenty of public and government attention in recent years. With the Conservatives setting a target of one million homes between 2015 and 2020, 200,000 were needed a year. So far, the numbers built have fallen short, although last year's figure of 190,000 - the best since the recession - showed progress was being made.
However, it is one thing to add new homes, but ensuring they are of a high standard and environmentally friendly is equally important. Much of this depends on making sure they are built with the right cavity walls for insulation to be fitted, while measures such as cellar waterproofing may be particularly important in areas with a high water table or flood risk.
Quality needs to be high in other areas too, however, including the standard of construction and also size, both areas where criticism is occasionally levelled at designers and builders. The use of green construction methods is also an area where there is rising awareness, but not always adherence to the highest standards.
However, a new development taking place in Lancashire may go a long way towards meeting these criteria. The planned development by Lovell at Clayton-le-Woods, a village near Leyland and Chorley, could be an exemplar for the sector.
The site has been purchased from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) by Lovell, which, subject to planning permission, will start work on the development in late summer this year. The £53 million scheme will see 198 homes being built for open sale and 22 affordable starter homes added alongside these, with the properties in this category priced up to £250,000 with discounts of at least 20 per cent available to first-time buyers aged under 40.
Among the new homes will be 18 two-bedroom properties, while 118 will have three bedrooms, 67 will have four bedrooms and there will be 17 with five bedrooms.
Lovell's regional managing director Nigel Yates said: "We're delighted to be working in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency to deliver this outstanding development of beautifully designed, much-needed homes for Lancashire.
"The Chorley location gives residents access to some stunning scenery on their doorstep while also providing superb transport connections across Lancashire and beyond. Our house styles have been designed with a variety of buyers in mind, from families to young professionals, while our starter homes will help first-time purchasers take their initial step on to the housing ladder."
While the addition of 220 homes will be good news for Lancashire's housing supply, the environmental plans for the site demonstrate a particularly strong commitment towards sustainability. Located on the edge of the countryside near the M6 and the 650-acre Cuerden Valley Park, the site will be criss-crossed by footpaths and cycle paths.
Even more importantly, there will be photovoltaic panels on the roofs of homes to provide much of the electricity needs for the development on-site, while the construction process itself will see 97 per cent of the materials used being recycled, minimising the level of landfill produced.
Of course, to make any development co-friendly, keeping emissions down is essential. That is why good insulation will be vital to ensure the new homes do not have a negative effect, as well as helping keep fuel bills down.
The Clayton-le-Woods site is not the only one in mid-Lancashire where new homes are being developed. In recent years, a whole village has been emerging just south of Clayton-le-Woods at Buckshaw, with a new station at Buckshaw Parkway being completed in 2011, providing services to both Manchester and Preston.