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Drum Housing, part of Radian, has recently completed an award winning, £20 million regeneration of a former council estate on the outskirts of the historic market town of Petersfield in Hampshire.
Privett Green is a development of 148 new eco-homes which have replaced the 58 pre-cast reinforced concrete (REEMA) properties, constructed after the Second World War to provide a speedy solution to the housing crisis at that time. It was anticipated that they would have a useful life of 30 years.
Whilst they had considerably out performed that expectation, they had a number of defects that made them unmortgageable and in need of considerable investment to bring them nearer to modern Decent Homes Standards in terms of heating and insulation.
Residents were given the opportunity to decide between two options for the future of the estate: redevelopment or refurbishment. A ballot was held, with the vast majority of residents expressing a preference for the redevelopment option
From the very start of the project at the end of 2003, residents have been fully consulted and involved at every stage. A Steering Group of residents was elected and a drop-in centre provided on site to answer any questions or worries. Consultations were also held with pupils of the Senior School located adjacent to the site to ascertain what the pupils who lived in the REEMA homes required from the development. This consultation period has been a major factor in the success of the project and involvement of the residents.
John Venning, Chair Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (Hampshire) commented: “One of the beauties of this development is that by consultation with the residents, the community has been built into it.”
In order to cause as little disruption to residents, the demolition and rebuild was planned in stages, with the first phase of residents moved to temporary accommodation nearby in October 2005. The demolition was complete by March 2006 and the first Kingspan TEK panels arrived on site in June.
The development is driven by Radian’s ongoing commitment to provide residents with a better quality of life and to exceeding Decent Homes Standards. As well as the Structurally Insulated Panel system (SIPS) timber frame, the homes benefit from air tight construction, Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery, 90.3% efficient gas condensing boilers, solar thermal panels, photovoltaic cells and a host of water efficient innovations. Eco-meters are installed in the communal hallways, displaying the amount of energy created and C02 saved.
The development achieved an overall site rating of BREEAM Eco-Homes ‘Very Good’, although if individual units were to be assessed 10% of the homes would achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating, or Code for Sustainable Homes level 4, by virtue of micro-renewables installed.
The process was further complicated by the discovery of slow worms on the development site. A survey of the slow worms was completed, and 918 were captured by ecologists and rehoused in a safe environment in the New Forest. Drum also commissioned an extensive investigation after evidence of historical bat habitation was discovered in one property.
Richard Holmans, Managing Director Croudace Homes in Partnership, “One of the most enjoyable schemes we’ve worked on, particularly the partnerships with Drum, the designers and the residents. It was a complex scheme, with several phases of rehousing, but we’re very pleased with the end product.”
A menu of options was offered to existing residents to choose the design of their new homes which best matched their individual needs in terms of number of bedrooms, storey height and preferences for lounge diner or kitchen diner layout. The design features of the 3 and 4 bedroom homes maximise family living space with 2½ and 3 storey homes for both existing and new residents to the development.
Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Nigel Atkinson said, “This is a text book example of how well developers can work with communities. There are many positives including the ability to sell electricity back to the National Grid. Full marks to everyone involved.”
The homes have been built in a series of courtyards and landscaped areas, each one designed to provide a comfortable, spacious, thermally efficient and enjoyable living environment for residents.
Sylvia Hawkes, resident since 1971, “There’s no comparison to the old houses. This whole process has brought the community together. Drum have brought together older people, young couples and families; a lovely social mix. That’s what life’s all about.”
The remaining 14 existing REEMA homes in Borough Grove, where the majority chose not to have their homes redeveloped, are to be refurbished later this year. These will showcase how sustainable and energy efficient refurbishment can be undertaken and will aim to achieve a 80% reduction in CO2 emissions, a target Drum has already been close to achieving.
The project is the winner of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire) 2009 Countryside & Design Award for its environmental qualities. It also contributed to Drum Housing Association winning the Housing Corporation’s Gold Award for Excellence in 2007.
John Venning, Chair Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (Hampshire), “This is a splendid example of local people getting together to protect what they value in rural areas. Drum looked closely at the existing housing and saw the potential to create something more. We are honoured to be associated with Drum and what they’ve done for Petersfield and Hampshire as a whole.”
Privett Green also received acclaim by being recently awarded “Best Village/ Town Initiative” at the Life in Petersfield Business and Community Awards. The award recognises projects that have benefited residents or the community. The development has also been entered for other national awards this year.
Debbie Harvey, Senior Project Manager, Radian, “Privett Green is undoubtedly attributable to the contributions made by the residents during the detailed consultation process. Listening and investing in the needs and aspirations of residents has culminated in homes of choice and has developed a forward-thinking community. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the community helping them to reach their goal.”
There are currently still some 2 bedroom flats and houses and one 3 bed house available for shared ownership and open days are held at Privett Green every Tuesday from 4-7pm. For more details call the Homes in Hants Customer Service team on 023 8062 8004, or go to www.homesinhants.co.uk