Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has put his support behind the UK’s first eco town at North West Bicester following the first phase of the scheme being awarded One Planet Living status.
A partnership between lead developers A2Dominion, Cherwell District Council and sustainability experts BioRegional, the first, exemplar phase of the eco development was recognised as a One Planet Community last week, one of only six developments in the world to achieve this benchmark.
One Planet Living is a coveted endorsement set up by award-winning BioRegional, which confirms the project as making a sustainable future a reality today.
The first exemplar phase will contain 393 highly efficient homes for existing and new residents of Bicester, built to be true zero-carbon. It is part of a wider NW Bicester masterplan for 5,000 homes.
The Deputy Prime Minister recognised the big thinking and ambition behind the project saying:
“I welcome the vision and ambition behind the plan for 5,000 new homes at NW Bicester. It shows the kind of big thinking we need to tackle the housing crisis and create a new, 21st Century generation of garden cities and suburbs.
“We need a huge increase in building new family homes, to high environmental standards, with plenty of green space around them. But it’s critical that all the infrastructure that major new developments need is in place early on, creating real communities with decent facilities and easy access to local jobs.
“At Bicester a partnership of the local council, a developer and a social enterprise have been working with the local community on all of those things, setting themselves really challenging goals to cut carbon and waste while boosting the local economy and raising people’s quality of life. We need more of this kind of ambition.”
Constructed in four stages over the next five years, the exemplar design fosters a community that is vibrant, resilient and sustainable and incorporates a school, district heating plant, eco pub and business centre.
Exemplar will encompass the UK’s largest residential solar array, feature technology designed to cope with climate change of up to 10 degrees Celsius and aims to reduce car usage to 50 per cent. Currently 67.5 per cent of journeys in Bicester are made by car.
Steve Hornblow, NW Bicester project director at A2Dominion said: “We welcome the comments from the Deputy Prime Minister and his support for the scheme which will see this ground-breaking development built over 20 years integrate cutting edge technology, economic opportunities and community engagement, with environmental integrity at its core.”
Nicole Lazurus, who leads for BioRegional on the NW Bicester plans, also welcomed Nick Clegg’s endorsement. “We’re setting the bar high, aiming to create a place where people can enjoy a high quality of life and community spirit thrives amid wildlife-rich, green surroundings – all within the resource capacity of our one planet. At a time when the government wants a big increase in housebuilding, it’s good to have this support for our goals.”
Cherwell District Council’s lead member for planning, Councillor Michael Gibbard, added: “Cherwell District Council is committed to delivering the growth and homes that are needed and is delighted to be working with A2Dominion and BioRegional to deliver this exemplary development. The council is confident that this scheme will deliver a step change in the sustainability and quality of new development, in a way that will set a benchmark for future schemes both locally and nationally.”
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