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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Carlisle homes won't be as green as developer first said

Developer Story Homes has been criticised by Carlisle city councillors for making new housing at Crindledyke less green.

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Fred Story with original plans: Now the first 184 homes will be built to code-level three, a lower green standard but still above the minimum

But they approved Story’s planning application after officers warned that the council would almost certainly lose an appeal if permission was refused.

The company hopes to start work on the first phase of the 850-home development, near Kingstown, this autumn.

When the council granted outline consent in April, Story agreed to build to level four of the Government’s standard for sustainable homes.

This is an environmental-rating system covering energy and CO2 emissions, water run off, materials, waste, pollution, health and well being, site management, and ecology.

Story says meeting this standard adds £8,000, on average, to the cost of each home.

That would make the scheme unviable in the current housing market especially as the firm is committed to paying for a new primary school and including a high proportion of affordable homes.

Story proposed that the first phase of 184 properties should be built to code-level three, a lower standard but still above the minimum laid down in building regulations.

Councillors were unimpressed when the development control committee met yesterday.

Chairman Terry Scarborough said: “We applauded this developer when they agreed to build to level four.

“I feel a bit let down. It is disappointing they are reverting to level three.”

Labour’s Jessica Riddle added: “I would have thought that an energy-efficient house with lower fuel bills would be a selling point.”

And fellow Labour man William Whalen said: “I think we should turn this down. We have to set a standard. When people make a planning application they should stand by what they applied for.”

But planning officer Sam Greig said that accepting a lower environmental standard was preferable to reducing the proportion of affordable homes or delaying the new school.

This is due to open before the 300th house is occupied.

Mr Greig added: “There is no requirement for the developer to build to level three or four. If they went to appeal the issue of viability would be taken into account and we would not be successful.”

Story says it intends to build the rest of the development to code-level four.

Its detailed plans for phase one go before councillors on August 17.

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