Sustainable Gloucestershire homes go on sale

THE developer behind a sustainable neighbourhood of 88 low-energy homes has been inundated with enquiries from potential buyers after the first batch of plots went on sale.
Orchard Field CGI 2

Stonewood Partnerships has opened its sales office at Orchard Field in Siddington, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, for homebuyers to book appointments, which are available Monday to Saturday, so they can view in safety.

“We have a fly-through video of the development to showcase what the homes will look like,” said marketing manager Jasmine Endersby. “We can also arrange plot visits when pre-booked to give our customers a feel for the beautiful views around the site and the space throughout the neighbourhood.”

A range of three and four bedroom homes have been released for reservation with move-in dates estimated for next summer, with further two and five bedroom homes being released in the near future. Each Cotswold stone, red brick or rendered home on the development has been designed to meet stringent Association for Environment Conscious Building standards that demand excellent construction and low energy consumption.

They have been built on a ‘fabric first’ principle – with their fundamental design aimed at making them as airtight as possible. Solar panels are embedded into the slate roof, 45cm thick walls are filled with eco-friendly insulation so the draught-free airtight interiors allow the energy-efficient heating system to cut bills by up to 70 per cent compared to standard new-built houses.

The woodland-bordered site is 35 acres in total but just 11 acres will be developed. Hundreds of trees will be planted across the community, beginning with an orchard to the west of the development and dozens more lining the parkland road into Orchard Field.

Two new ponds have already been built on a two-acre nature reserve away from the homes to provide a haven for Great Crested Newts, birds and other wildlife.

A new dropping off point will be created for parents bringing children to nearby Siddington C of E Primary School. The new community is expected to provide at least 30 new pupils.

Ms Endersby said: “We have been overwhelmed by the interest in the scheme and have made five reservations in our first week. We think we’ve had such high interest because it’s a really special development with high sustainability credentials, coupled with the design and build quality of a Stonewood home.

“Cirencester’s location at the gateway to the Cotswolds makes it such a desirable place to live and we are so fortunate to be able to offer such beautiful homes all surrounded by meadows and a chance to really be part of a community. It’s something the whole team here is passionate about.”

Work on the site is well under way with the homes’ revolutionary airtight wooden frames being craned into place. The frames are sealed together to form the floors, walls and roof, which not only makes the house better insulated but quicker to produce.

“They effectively leave a dry shell for us to put the masonry around the outside and then fit out the inside,” said Stonewood Partnerships managing director Sam Smart. “It takes a week to erect a pair of houses when normally it would take four to six weeks. It allows us to start working inside straight away, which makes it a much quicker and cleaner process.”

Ms Endersby said an increasing interest in sustainability and rising energy prices have also fuelled interest in the development. “I think people are really conscious of the environmental impact now so people are really keen to learn more about the building standards we are working to,” she said.

“People have been really interested in the attention to detail we put into the energy-saving design, such as thicker walls, triple glazing, small bore pipes to reduce loss and the air source heat pumps. They are very energy-efficient but they are also beautiful.”

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