A new development of ‘eco-friendly’ social housing is under construction at the Earldom site, located on the hillside between Catherine Road and Grimesthorpe Road. The developers, Arches Housing Association, believe that this project might be the first, in Sheffield, to achieve the government’s ‘EcoHomes Excellent’ standard. On completion the site will be officially named ‘Burnwood’.
Twenty-three family homes including three bungalows designed for older people and one purpose built home for wheelchair users are nearing completion. Eleven 3- and 4-bed houses and eight smaller homes designed to suit couples or new families will occupy the remaining site with a third of the area left as open space.
Each building includes a number of environmentally friendly features such as recycled plastic drainage, steel guttering and non-UPVC windows. All external walls, ground floors and loft areas are highly insulated, which dramatically reduces heat loss and energy use. Arches hope that this measure will mean a 50% reduction in occupiers’ heating costs compared to that of a post-war property of a similar size.
The development will be a mixture of approximately one-third of homes for rent and two-thirds for shared ownership with Arches. Properties for sale will be available on a 25%, 50% and 75% share basis. Rents will be kept at an affordable level and start at about £60 per week for a two-bedroom house. In all cases allocation of homes in this scheme is being made by the council’s housing department, Sheffield Homes.
The Messenger’s recent article for this project generated sixty calls from people wishing to register their interest. Arches confirmed that the vast majority of these had come from Burngreave residents.
Eco friendly enough?
Some may argue that this development presented a golden opportunity to incorporate many more ‘eco-friendly’ features. Arches’ view is that currently, investment in some green building systems is risky, both for the home buyer and the developer – new technology has to stand the test of time before people become happy to live and work with it. The developer’s efforts to include features like energy saving insulation, wooden windows and recycled plastics, represent the kind of measures that are achievable and easily accepted.
This is the first in a line of new housing projects that could take place on sites like Ellesmere Old People’s Home and Woodside. Plans for these sites are being looked at by the Masterplan’s New Housing Project Group. Some of its members, such as local resident Saleema Imam, are hoping for substantially more eco features for these developments such as micro turbines, solar power, self-build opportunities and training for builders in fitting low energy and eco-friendly facilities. Saleema said:
“It’s important that small developments like the Earldom site work well, as big developers often say it can’t be done. But this is the minimum of what we would want for an area like Woodside. It’s a small step in the right direction.”
by Rohan Francis
Anyone interested in visiting a self-build housing scheme in Sheffield with the Burngreave Community Action Forum’s Buildings Working Group can contact BCAF on 272 8008 or Saleema on 275 5770.