Blenheim Estate Homes is awaiting planning permission to build what is believed to be the largest rural development of PassivHaus standard homes in the UK.
The new community, in Woodstock, is planned to include in the region of 180 net-zero living homes that require little heating or cooling – resulting in a significant reduction in energy bills for future residents. 50% of the homes provided will be affordable.
The scheme is designed around people, and it incorporates large green open spaces, and will feature a mix of houses and apartments, private affordable rent, shared equity and homes suitable for first-time buyers in various sizes built using traditional local materials, to ensure, whilst future proofed and climate protecting, they are in-keeping with the historic Oxfordshire town.
Blenheim is also committed to delivering in the region of 70% biodiversity net gain on site, going far beyond the 10% statutory requirement.
New and existing green corridors will link the community to surrounding habitats encouraging wildlife to flourish. Tree-lined roads, cycle paths and pedestrian connections are proposed, many of which will connect to the centre of Woodstock.
Secure community hub buildings, which will also act as additional car parking spaces, will be located within two minutes of everyone’s front door and could also incorporate hub facilities for local ‘hot desk’ office working, home delivery lockers, fast electric vehicle charging and electric cycle hire.
“If approved this site will offer in the region of 180 homes built to PassivHaus standards that offer residents exceptionally high air quality, a low carbon footprint and much lower energy usage,” said Blenheim Property Director Roger File.
“We believe this development has huge potential as a model for other landowners as part of the UK climate change agenda. Our goal is to create long-term, high quality new homes that benefit their surrounding communities and are built in a sustainable and environmentally positive way, which helps to address both the climate change and fuel poverty agendas” he added.
In November 2021 the Blenheim Estate declared its own plans to address the climate emergency by becoming net zero by 2027.
The headline commitment is for Blenheim to become carbon neutral on scopes 1 - 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol across all operations by 2027 and, beyond that, to remove 230,000 tonnes CO2e from the atmosphere by 2050.
The ‘Green’ manifesto is now the dominant goal of the estate’s leadership team, which believes global warming is the single biggest challenge to Blenheim’s long-term survival, however we have an opportunity to set an example within the housebuilding sector with regards to the climate change agenda.