North West Bicester (NW Bicester) is a ground breaking project led by A2Dominion to create the first eco town in the UK.
Who we are?
The A2Dominion Group is one of the country’s leading providers of high-quality housing. We deliver high quality homes for private sale, shared ownership, specialist accommodation, affordable rent and private market rent. We currently have 35,000 properties across London and the South East, with 4,600 homes in the development pipeline.
Across all of our activities our vision is to improve people’s lives through quality homes and services. As a charity registered under the Co-operative & Community Benefit Societies Act, we do this by reinvesting our surpluses into developing more housing, investing in our managed properties and making our existing services and the communities in which we work, even better.
We’re different from traditional house builders. As the lead developer of NW Bicester and housing provider of the 30 percent affordable homes on site, we have a long-term vested interest in Bicester, and we’re committed to creating a community that is vibrant, resilient and truly integrated with the existing town. Proactively engaging and supporting the local community is important to us. NW Bicester is our flagship project and we have already invested over £20million into the scheme.
Our vision for NW Bicester
Our guiding principles at A2Dominion have been to make it easy, attractive and affordable for people of all ages to live healthy, sustainable lifestyles without comprising the needs of future generations. To build high quality homes pioneering the highest standards in sustainable construction that every generation can enjoy for generations to come, and to create a vibrant and sustainable new community that is an integral part of wider Bicester.
About NW Bicester
NW Bicester will be an example to future developments in establishing sustainable new communities in the UK.
The Masterplan – once complete this 1000 acre development will provide 6,000 true zero carbon homes catering for the needs of all generations. It will incorporate 40 per cent green space together with all the amenities required to create a vibrant community including: four new primary schools, a secondary school, three local centres, four nurseries, commercial and business space, a health practice, a community farm, a country park, a woodland burial ground and sports and recreational provision; all intertwined by a network of cycle and pedestrian routes.
A2Dominion prepared and submitted its Masterplan to guide the future development of NW Bicester over the next 25 – 30 years to Cherwell District Council in March 2014. This has subsequently been taken forward by the Council through the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which is currently out to consultation.
The first phase of this innovative development is known as the Exemplar and will see the construction of 393 highly energy efficient homes, creating the UK’s first true zero carbon community. This 51 acre site will encompass 40 per cent green space, a primary school, community centre, convenience store, eco pub and business centre. The Exemplar integrates cutting edge technology, natural landscape and economic opportunities, with environmental integrity at its core.
What makes NW Bicester unique?
NW Bicester approaches sustainable living realistically, providing people with the tools to benefit from a real community environment, reduced home running costs and access to the latest green technologies.
There are number of features to the design and delivery of the Exemplar that make it truly unique:
- It is the only eco development in the UK that adheres to the strict Planning Policy Statements (PPS1) originally set out by the Government for the delivery of eco towns
- It is the only true zero- carbon development of this size in the country, taking into account both the energy that the home uses and that the people inside the home use
- Following on from the example of the 2012 London Olympics, this will be the only housing development in the UK to have zero waste to landfill during construction, including any excavation from roads and trenches
- The amount of carbon used during construction will be reduced by 30 per cent per home through the embodied carbon of individual materials and local sourcing
- All homes have been designed to cope with climate change peaks of up to 10 degrees Celsius ensuring they remain warm in the winter but do not overheat during the summer. Constructed with timber frames, they incorpo- rate high levels of insulation, triple glazing and air tightness
- All homes are built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 incorporating highly energy efficient and low water consumption appliances and rainwater harvesting, reducing water consumption to 80 litres per person per day
- The scheme will be a net provider, creating more energy than it uses. Heat and hot water will come from a combined heat and power community energy centre (CHP) and excess electricity generated by the CHP will be exported back to the national grid
- Specially designed cycle and pedestrian routes, a bus stop within 400m of every home, a community bus service from first occupation, a network charging points for electric vehicles, initiatives encouraging the use of ultra-low emission vehicles and a community Car Club are planned to enable residents to adopt more sustainable modes of travel
- Real time energy use and costs and live bus timetable up- dates will be displayed in every home via a tablet system. The system, known as the Shimmy, also enables residents to watch home information demonstration videos and acts as a communication portal for the community.
- The development retains 40 per cent green space and aims to achieve a net gain in biodiversity. Existing hedgerows and habitats have been incorporated into the design and will be enhanced with the creation of new ponds and swales. Bird boxes and meadow-turf roofs support new and existing species and nurture wildlife
We’re committed to creating a development that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable
- A community-led management organisation has been established with existing stakeholders to give NW Bicester residents the opportunity to have a say in the decisions that affect their local area, encourage participation and build a strong sense of identity
- Community space incorporates communal barbecue areas, herb boxes, allotments, and a community orchard to encourage residents to grow their own food and come together
- A local-lettings plan prioritises the allocation of affordable housing to people with a local connection to Bicester to foster links to the surrounding area. All residents will be asked to sign up to a Green Charter, designed to encourage residents to adopt sustainable lifestyle choices
- A team of staff will be based on-site to manage and maintain open space and deliver a programme of tenure blind community initiatives designed to inspire and engage residents in low-carbon living
Bicester Garden Town: part of a wider vision
In December 2014 the Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that Bicester had been selected as the UK’s second Garden Town and that the local authority would benefit from additional funding as part of the National Infrastructure Plan to deliver 13,000 homes, 21,500 jobs and a new motorway junction.
The 6,000 homes proposed at NW Bicester are included within this figure, and the synergies between the garden city and eco town principles support this over-arching plan. NW Bicester and the exemplary standards it embodies, form an important part of the plans for the Bicester garden town going forward.
The Exemplar has already been internationally recognised having been awarded One Planet Living status. We are one of only nine developments in the world to join Bioregional’s network of communities that use the 10 One Planet Living principles to show how we can live within the earth’s ecological limits.
In order to secure this status, the Exemplar has demonstrated methods to attain zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable water use and sustainable transport, as well as promote culture, community, equity, the local economy and the health and happiness of residents.