Image: Northgraf

A ground-breaking new eco-friendly development in Folkestone has been given the go-ahead. 

Members of Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s planning committee voted in favour of building the 30 homes on the site of the former Highview school in Moat Farm Road. 

The 24 houses and six flats have been designed by the council’s in-house team, supported by a team of consultants. Twenty five of the units will be for affordable rent and five for shared ownership. 

When complete, they will be as near as possible to zero carbon in use. This will be achieved by the low-energy design and other initiatives. These include high levels of insulation, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems,  solar panels, air-source heat pumps (instead of gas boilers), and they will be designed to accept battery power storage (which links with the panels) in the future.

As well as the homes – three of which will be wheelchair compliant – an area of accessible open space will be at the centre of the site, linking to new footpaths to surrounding roads.

Landscaping of the brownfield site includes a design which takes into account existing trees and the planting of many new ones, as well as hedgerows, natural native thicket areas, and wildlife-friendly shrubs and flowers. There will be mown grass areas for residents to use and tall grass areas for habitat diversity, hibernacula woodpiles and hedgehog holes. 

The design team has been joined by three existing tenants as Tenant Champions, who are helping look at different ways of ensuring the homes are meeting today’s living expectations while substantially reducing carbon emissions. The champions are also looking at accessibility and place-making.

Cllr David Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Housing and Special Projects, said: “The input of these three tenants – each with their unique knowledge and experience – is just one of the ways in which Highview is a very special development and one that we are very proud of.”

Cllr Lesley Whybrow, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “I am really excited about this development. As well as reducing the environmental impact of the new housing, it will also mean lower energy bills for the home owners – more vital now than ever before.”

Work is expected to start on Highview in the next few months. 

By Ed

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