Work on an 88-home Cotswold village neighbourhood could begin next year after a final application was submitted.
The new homes at Severell’s Field in Siddington, near Cirencester, half of which will be affordable, will be built to the most environmentally sound principles possible, said retired architect Nicholas Arbuthnott of South Cerney, whose vision inspired the scheme.
The 68-year-old secured an option on 35-acre site next to Barton Farm and was given outline permission on appeal in June 2017.
The housing 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.
Mr Arbuthnott has entered into a joint venture partnership with quality housebuilder Stonewood Partnerships, based at Tormarton, to build the neighbourhood, which will be designed by another arm of the Stonewood Group, Stonewood Design.
He said the stone and render homes will be designed to conserve as much energy as possible. “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.
“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 60cms thick to ensure the construction of the houses contribute most to their energy efficiency. But, said 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.
Mr Arbuthnott said: “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.
Mr Arbuthnott said working with Stonewood has made the project easier. He added: “I chose Stonewood because they really loved the site. They were looking at a contemporary approach, which is good because I wanted an environmentally based approach with a landscape-led design. They have exceeded my expectations, and it has been a pleasure working with them.”
Stonewood Chief Operating Officer Ben Lang said: “We are really excited about this scheme and at having the chance to create a neighbourhood that complements such a wonderful setting. It’s another milestone for Stonewood and the fact Nicholas has chosen to work with us is testament to our ability to do creative land deals in order to deliver exceptional housing schemes.”