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Cambridge City Council

Committed to low carbon housing with planning application for further pilot Passivhaus council homes

9 September 2021

As part of a commitment to achieve high quality, low carbon housing across Cambridge, Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP is the council and Hill) has submitted planning for three pilot ‘Passivhaus’ council homes at its Borrowdale development.

Passivhaus is the leading low energy, high comfort standard for buildings, demonstrated as the foremost method of reducing energy use and carbon emissions from buildings in the UK. CIP will be delivering the first council homes in the city to attain the internationally renowned Passivhaus standard.

The Borrowdale development follows on from planning being successfully granted at 71-73 Fen Road, where 12 new low carbon council homes will be built for local families. Both these schemes form part of a pilot project, enabling us to learn about Passivhaus on smaller developments before scaling up its low carbon housing.

Cllr Mike Todd-Jones, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council and CIP board member comments,

“We are committed to providing the highest environmental standards in the new homes we build and are proud that all our future developments will be gas free. These proposed pilot Passivhaus council homes are another step towards achieving these standards, providing residents with very low energy use and heating costs as well as addressing the housing shortage in Cambridge.”

The scheme at Borrowdale has been designed by experienced architects Pollard Thomas Edwards and will provide three, two bedroom terraced Passivhaus council homes with back garden, cycle storage and parking. Seven parking spaces will be retained across the street to the south of the site. Trees at the site will also be retained wherever possible.

Tom Hill, Regional Director of Hill said, “These homes will be built with meticulous attention to detail and have many benefits for residents, including heating demand of up to 90% lower compared to existing buildings and 50% lower compared to new homes built to Building Regulations. The high quality construction and air tightness will also prevent draughts, cold spots, moulds and condensation, making them a much heathier home.”

The site currently comprises existing garages and car parking, bounded by neighbouring flat blocks and bark gardens. The site is a 10 minute cycle from Cambridge City Centre. CIP has also worked with Carter Jonas and Allen Pyke Associates to bring forward the scheme.

Cambridge Investment Partnership is an equally owned partnership between Cambridge City Council and Hill Investment Partnerships established in 2017 to address the acute housing need by providing high quality new council homes, market sale homes and commercial and community facilities.

A year ahead of its initial target, to start at least 500 council homes by March 2022, as part of the £70m Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution grant, it is now on site building over 500 new council homes (900 homes in total), has already completed seven sites under Covid guidelines and is now working to delivering a minimum of 1,700 new homes, with 1,000 being council homes within 10 years, including the first Passivhaus accredited council homes in Cambridge.