Castle Combe-based housebuilder Stonewood Partnerships has entered into a partnership with architect Nicholas Arbuthnott to build the community at Siddington, near Cirencester.
The 68-year-old has secured an option on a 35-acre site next to Barton Farm. The Severells Field development will occupy just 11 acres of the site and the rest will be devoted to woodland, landscaping and a new pond that will act as a wildlife haven.
The neighbourhood will be designed by another arm of the Stonewood Group, Stonewood Design.
“The aim is to make the houses as close to passive as we can in terms of energy use. We will use mechanical ventilation heat recovery to recycle hot air, which means energy bills are much lower," says Nicholas.
“We want to try and be fossil fuel-free by using air source heat pumps, solar panels on the roofs and we’ll also build a solar farm with the aim of feeding the electricity into the houses.
“We have designed the site to have as many parking spaces with charging points. We are trying to future proof the development as far as we can.”
The homes will have walls up to 60 centimetres thick to ensure the construction of the houses contribute most to their energy efficiency.
But, says Stonewood Design architect Matt Vaudin, the ethos of the development is not just sustainable buildings.
“You need to get the social side of things right too. If you plonk a load of houses and face them all south so you have got all the best roofs for solar panels, you’ll have cool eco houses but you won’t have created a community,” he said.
He has led a team of local specialist consultants including Cirencester-based landscape architects Portus Whitton.
Around a third of the neighbourhood will be public open space, with four courtyards planted with fruit trees to provide space for families to relax outdoors. Front gardens will face each other to encourage neighbours to spend time together.
Nicholas says: “We are also interested in trying to make the development socially sustainable, we feel it is important after these Covid times to bring people together and to know each other. That is why we want to include these public open spaces that are created in the courtyards. The main one in the centre, where most of the affordable housing is, will be somewhere children can play away from the road.”
Plane trees that line the principle footpath crossing the development will be just some of the significant planting to extend woodland bordering the development, shield parking spaces and add character.
A footpath and cycleway will link the development to the village via neighbouring Siddington Primary School and the 2,350 homes being built on the neighbouring Bathurst Estate.
Stonewood CEO Ben Lang says: “We are really excited about this scheme and at having the chance to create a neighbourhood that complements such a wonderful setting.”
The reserved matters application for landscaping, appearance, and scale to Cotswold District Council will be considered in the next few months and, if approved, work is set to begin early in 2021.