Work has started to build eight zero carbon council homes across three sites in Oxford.
The properties will be constructed from pre-fabricated panels timber frames with insulation and electrics built in which will then be assembled on site.
Featuring air source heat pumps, triple glazing, high standards of insulation, and solar panels, they will be zero carbon for regulated energy use – i.e. lighting, space and hot water heating, and ventilation. The City Council won’t regulate the fittings that tenants introduce to their new home, such as kettles, TVs and lamps, etc. It will, however, encourage them to use as close to zero carbon technology as possible.
Alongside helping to tackle the climate emergency, the bungalows, which have been designed specifically for elderly tenants, will be wheelchair and Lifetime Homes’ compliant. They will all feature hallways large enough for wheelchairs to pass through, entranceways with wheelchair charging points, and wet room bathrooms. They have also been designed to be adapted to include hoists, or lower kitchens worktops, sinks or cookers, in the future.
The aim is to help elderly tenants move out of larger council homes in Oxford to provide much-needed family homes.
The project is taking place across three sites:
- Two one-bedroom and two two-bedroom single-storey retirement homes on a site between existing homes in Bracegirdle Road and Chillingworth Crescent. The project includes demolishing a side extension to a house in Bracegirdle Road to create an access road
- Replacing garages behind Mortimer Drive with two one-bedroom and one two-bedroom single-storey retirement homes
- One two-bedroom single-storey retirement home in Broad Oak
All the homes will feature bin and bicycle stores, and disabled car parking and new planting will improve the ecology of the sites.
The project is being managed by Oxford City Council’s housing company OCHL, while the construction is being carried out by its wholly-owned company ODS. All the new homes will become council houses managed by the City Council.
The construction, which started in April, will comply with national social distancing guidelines and the aim is to complete the new homes by December 2020.
“I am delighted that work has started on eight new retirement homes in Oxford. These new homes will enable elderly people to move out of larger council homes, which will in turn provide much-needed homes for Oxford’s families,”
said Councillor Mike Rowley, cabinet member for affordable housing.
“The City Council has declared a climate emergency and we’re committed to building a zero carbon Oxford as quickly as possible. We can’t solve our city’s carbon problem without solving the emissions from buildings – 81% of emissions in Oxford come from buildings. Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change was clear that a balance is possible between zero carbon and genuinely affordable homes – and this project shows that this is doable.”
Simon Yung, head of new homes at ODS, added: “The climate emergency is upon us and we all need to do our bit for everyone’s future.
“This is why we made sure that the low impact credentials of these homes were present not only in their finished form but also in the way they are constructed. In addition, we have chosen to manufacture the main structures off site so that we can generate fewer journeys and can also complete building 50% quicker than we traditionally would.
“Ultimately, we are part of the community and feel a social responsibility to provide the best quality and most sustainable solutions for new homes in Oxford.”