Eco-Bos, plans to transform about 700 hectares of former china clay pits owned by mining company Imerys into sustainable communities.

The scheme will provide 5,500 new homes and plans facilities such as schools, health centres, parks and allotments.

Eco-Bos project director, John Hodkin, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the region providing a chance to bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the local population and future generations.”

The homes will have a thermally efficient, low-carbon design with passive ventilation systems or MVHR, rainwater harvesting and storage to cut the use of drinking water.

Solar shading will minimise summer overheating and hot water and electricity will be provided by solar thermal and photo-voltaic panels.

Each house is likely to feature smart metering and energy management systems to make efficient use of heating, power and water. Other features will include charging points for electric cars.

The designs will also make extensive use of local china clay as a secondary aggregate in the buildings’ construction.

In the initial phase of the project, Eco-Bos, is planning a pilot of 50 homes to showcase the proposed designs.

HLM Architects have been appointed to the panel participating in the pilot project which and will provide a house design which will be used in the pilot phase.

HLM Architects’ regional director Ajay Sharma said: “This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of sustainable living on a town-size scale.

“Not only will the benefits of low-energy housing become available to large numbers of people but Eco-Bos will demonstrate the advantages to individuals of economic and social sustainability and sustainable transport at a community-wide level.”

Alison Brown

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