Work begins on ‘pioneering’ 520-home eco-village in Leeds’s South Bank

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Work has begun on a major new eco-housing project which, it is hoped, will speed up Leeds’s drive towards becoming a zero carbon city and transform the concept of city centre living.

The £125m Climate Innovation District in Clarence Road, near Leeds Dock, forms part of the city’s South Bank Leeds regeneration plans. It is using the latest technology - and a totally climate friendly focus - to build 520 new low carbon homes, as well as leisure, offices and ‘climate resilient’ public spaces, all of which promise to have “a fraction” of the carbon emissions of conventional homes.

VISION: Artist's graphics of the scheme; work at the on-site factory and Citu's development director Jonathan Davies with MD Chris Thompson outside the main Climate Innovation District site in Clarence Road, Leeds.

VISION: Artist's graphics of the scheme; work at the on-site factory and Citu's development director Jonathan Davies with MD Chris Thompson outside the main Climate Innovation District site in Clarence Road, Leeds.

The project has been developed with the help of researchers at Leeds Beckett University.

The timber framed housing is being manufactured in an on site factory, with the further aim of reducing the carbon footprint in the construction process.

The Yorkshire Evening Post was given a tour of the factory yesterday (Friday), as the first batch of houses nears completion.

The first residents are due to move in by August. The wider development will take five years to complete.

Chris Thompson, founder and managing director of developer Citu, said: “The whole district is really trying to focus on changing the way our cities work.

“So we are bringing back conventional family living into the city.

“We are making sustainable communities, in terms of energy consumption, so low energy homes, but also sustainable in terms of the way the community functions as a whole.”

The homes - many of which have roof terraces - are modelled on a “progressive” Scandinavian design, with input from a Stockholm-based architect.

They include underground parking, and a bridge over the River Aire will connect the first and second phases.

“We have taken a lot of inspiration from some of the great schemes in Northern Europe and elsewhere in the world,” Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson explained how every element of the creation of the new low carbon village has energy preservation at its heart.

The homes are being built in controlled conditions and under cover, meaning construction will not be hampered by bad weather. They are being manufactured on an assembly line and then installed on site.

The firm said: “The Climate Innovation District, and in particular South Bank Leeds, presents an enormous opportunity for Leeds to be the first city in the UK, and possibly Europe, to create an ecologically pioneering district of this scale.”

WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE HOMES?

The way in which the timber homes are manufactured removes many of the ‘thermal bridges’ and opportunities for air leakage often found in domestic homes, ultimately meaning that heating bills and carbon emissions are a fraction of those of a conventional property.

Other eco-friendly elements include:

Rainwater and storm water collection as part of a sustainable integrated urban drainage system

Solar panels

Green roof terraces and green surfaces to increase amenity, biodiversity and reduce flood risk and overheating in summer.

A specialist Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery system which reduces heat loss and improves energy efficiency

Cycle storage provision with cycling paths incorporated into the wider development.

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