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Halton's Eco-housing scheme Gets Go-Ahead

John Freeman

Members of local community group Lancaster Cohousing are celebrating after Lancaster City Council's planning committee approved their plans to redevelop a 2.5 hectare derelict site by the River Lune at Halton, near Lancaster, to provide 40 new private homes, shared indoor and outdoor space and managed business space. The cohousing group is a mix of individuals, couples and families of all ages whose aim is to build eco-homes of a cutting edge sustainable design and create a friendly, supportive neighbourhood.

"This is a really important milestone for us," says Project manager Jon Sear. "It means we can now start the detailed design work, get the necessary funding agreements in place and appoint a building contractor to work with us.

"If people wish to join the project, there are still a few homes available to buy and business units to rent."

The one-bedroom flats, and two and three-bedroom terraced houses will be built to the super-insulated Passivhaus standard and will form the largest Passivhaus development in the UK. Together with the hydro scheme being developed with the local community, this design will ensure a very low carbon footprint.

Each household will have their own home and there will also be shared facilities, including a laundry, child care area and workshops, and a common house, where residents can, if they wish, cook and eat together. This mix will ensure residents have their own space whilst encouraging social contact enabling them to build connections with their neighbours.

The derelict factory building on site, covering an area of 1200 square meteres, is to be refurbished to provide a mixture of serviced workshops, offices and studios for small businesses, organisations and individuals. Located in an attractive area, the units will enjoy a local and personal management service, shared facilities and a zero carbon energy supply, and will be available on flexible terms.

Construction on the site should begin early in 2011, aiming for completion of 34 of the 40 homes by Spring 2012.

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