Greenest council homes in Norwich take shape

A look around Norwich's 'greenest' council houses which are under construction at Hansard Close. Lef

A look around Norwich's 'greenest' council houses which are under construction at Hansard Close. Left to right, councillor Vivien Thomas, site manager Dave Clarke, councillor Vaughan Thomas and councillor Gail Harris.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

New homes, which would be the most environmentally-friendly council houses in Norwich, are taking shape on a former eyesore site in Mile Cross.

An artist's impression of what the finished homes in Hansard Close will look like. Pic: Norwich City

An artist's impression of what the finished homes in Hansard Close will look like. Pic: Norwich City Council. - Credit: Norwich City Council

The £1.5m project, in Hansard Close, Mile Cross, is due to be completed in February next year, after which people on the waiting list for council housing will get the chance to move into the homes.

And council bosses say the people who live in the flats will benefit from cheaper fuel bills, due to the building being highly energy efficient.

The flats – eight one-bedroom flats and two wheelchair accessible two-bedroom flats – will be the first council-owned homes built in Norwich to what is known as Passivhaus standard.

Passivhaus homes are built to the highest standards of energy efficiency and designed to use very little energy for heating and cooling.

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Examples of Passivhaus features include extra thick insulation, triple glazed windows and doors, and heat provided through a mechanical vent heat recovery system.

Norfolk firm EN Suiter & Sons Ltd has been building the homes, designed by London-based Hamson Barron Smith, which is managing the scheme.

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City councillors were given a tour of the site yesterday, where they were shown the lengths the builders were going to in order to ensure the homes hit Passivhaus standards.

Dave Clarke, site manager for EN Suiter & Sons, said: 'It's going well and we are on programme. The height of the buildings is more or less finished and then we'll move on to fitting the interiors out.

'It's the first Passivhaus development I have been involved with and it's like building a house backwards. We've put the timber frames in and got it insulated before we think about putting the brickwork in.

'It is challenging because there is so much to think about to make sure everything is airtight.'

The aim is that the homes have been designed so that they will stay cool in the summer, but will retain heat in the winter. That energy efficiency will mean people save on their fuel bills.

Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council and the authority's cabinet member for council housing, said: 'The city council has a strong tradition of housebuilding and we're delighted to be building new homes again.

'We are very proud to be leading the development of homes with such outstanding eco credentials, which have real benefits for both the environment and our tenants, and it's fantastic to see Norwich emerging as a leader in this field.

'Not only are we delivering new homes, but we are finding innovative ways to finance them and protect frontline services.'

The homes, which are being built on the site where the city council's Mile Cross neighbourhood office once stood, will be allocated through the Norwich Home Options scheme, the city council's choice based lettings system.

Further homes which meet Passivhaus standards are planned for the Goldsmith Street site in Norwich and on part of the Three Score development at Bowthorpe.

• Are you looking for a new home? Make sure you get the Norwich Evening News on Thursdays and visit for details about properties on the market.

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