A £60 million investment to boost the development of 600 new green homes across the UK has been hailed by ministers as the ‘biggest ever eco-home building programme’
It is understood around 100 of them will not initially be lived in, acting instead as ‘eco show homes’.
Housing Minister John Healey welcomed the announcement by the government to generate cash to build the homes in and around four eco-sites in Whitehill-Bordon (pictured), Hampshire; St Austell in Cornwall; Rackheath, Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the houses would feature water-saving systems, smart meters to monitor energy use, renewable power and electric car charging points.
Public transport and schools in the area will also be given a green makeover, including a new ‘eco-standard’ sixth form at one institution.
The project will also offer hundreds of people affordable housing, the DCLG said, although some will remain as permanent ‘eco-show homes’.
The four successful bids were all supported by local authorities and the Government hopes the cash will provide them with a boost to drive the schemes forward.
Around 100 show homes will be built in existing communities – with work starting as early as next month – and 500 houses will be constructed on the eco-town sites themselves next year.
The developments still have to go to through the existing planning system.
All the new homes will have to meet at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, meeting high standards of insulation, water saving and energy efficiency.