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ZEDfactory’s PortZED finally wins planning

Bill Dunster’s latest eco-scheme in Brighton has finally been approved following a major redesign which included the loss of its wind turbines

The controversial project, which will form the gateway to Shoreham Harbour, a 688,000m² port, had to go back to the drawing board after facing opposition from local residents.

Plans for wind turbines on top of the building have been scrapped and the number of flats reduced from 62 to 52.

The original proposal buildings’ height has also been shrunk in response to criticism from Brighton and Hove Council’s planning committee in February 2012 that the application was an appropriate location for a tall building. The six-storey blocks have now been reduced to three in places, addressing what was described as the scheme’s ‘constant and unvarying height’.

The zero carbon development includes six three and five-storey blocks containing 52 flats, a visitor centre, shops, offices and a café.

A collaboration between Dunster’s Zedfactory and Brighton-based Alan Philips, the PortZED scheme is aiming to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6, and will build on the practice’s earlier BedZED development in Sutton.

The scheme’s sustainability credentials, which expect the development to generate surplus energy for ten months of the year, have been praised by CABE.

CABE commented: ‘The project is one of the best proposals for sustainable living that we have seen at design review and we wish this exemplary project well.

‘We look forward to Code for Sustainable Homes level 6 projects becoming common practice.’

Colin Brace, from the scheme’s developer Boho Green, said: ‘The area is zoned for tall buildings and 400 homes as well as niche retail and top grade office space.

‘Shoreham Port is hugely ambitious and we’re ambitious too with the most sustainable homes in Brighton – a place with a reputation for its green lifestyle.

‘This landmark project will form the western gateway to an innovative set of buildings marking the entrance to Brighton and complementing planned large-scale development at the eastern entrance by Brighton Marina.’

Zedfactory's PortZED project in Portslade near Brighton

REJECTED: Zedfactory’s original PortZED project in Portslade near Brighton which was turned down by planners in early 2012

Previous story (22.02.12)

Bill Dunster’s PortZED vision rejected

Bill Dunster’s PortZED project at Portslade near Brighton has been denied planning permission.

Brighton and Hove Council’s planning committee voted to reject the Zedfactory founder’s 62-home proposal for the coastal site this afternoon.

The proposal for developer Bohogreen, designed in collaboration with Brighton-based Alan Phillips Architects,originally featured six lozenge-shaped buildings interspersed with vertical wind turbine columns.

The scheme was however redesigned to feature fewer homes and no turbines following residents concerns, according to the The Argus.

Planning committee chair councillor Phelim MacCafferty said: ‘Clearly we don’t want to turn down schemes which deliver sustainable homes.  However, in this case there was too much in conflict and unresolved to be able to approve.  There was real concern about potential problems with noise from the wind turbines.   

‘There are limits in how far we can go with the height and bulk of buildings.  We cannot ignore the fact such a development would have a big detrimental effect on the neighbourhood.

‘While we need green homes we can’t have them at absolutely any price – a price paid by the neighbours in this case.’

Planners recommended the Zedfactory project for refusal on the grounds that the application failed to demonstrate the site was an appropriate location for a tall building.

The scheme’s ‘constant and unvarying height’ was also cited as creating a ‘sense of bulk that would appear excessively out of scale and create a visually overbearing relationship with adjoining development to the north’.

More than 360 people signed a petition objecting to the proposal. A further 150 opposing letters were received by the local planning authority.

Criticism included potential noise caused by the wind turbines and the absence of a precedent for tall buildings in the area.

Footprint Live: The Green Rethink

Bill Dunster will be speaking at the the AJ’s sustainability summit, The Green Rethink, taking place on Tuesday 26 November at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

With case studies, analysis and critical business insight, Footprint Live: The Green Rethink is the opportunity to get the insider information you need to skill up your business and win more work.

Book now to join the debate.

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