Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has officially cut the first sod to launch a new eco-friendly housing scheme in Newtownards.
The development of 40 two-bedroom apartments at Donaghadee Road, Newtownards, by Connswater Homes and Sky Developments, is being piloted as the first social housing scheme to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. From April 2008, all new social housing has been designed to Level 3 of the Code, in itself a significant step up from what went before. At Level 3, CO2 emissions are improved by 25 percent, whilst Level 4 increases that by a further 19 percent.
The code is designed to improve the sustainability of new homes and requires all new social housing to offer a reduced environmental impact, lower running costs and features that enhance health and well being.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: “I am delighted to see construction of this new scheme underway. The delivery of high quality energy efficient and sustainable social housing is a key priority for my department. Connswater Homes and Sky Developments are to be congratulated for planning such an innovative, flagship development.
“My department has an aspiration to build to the highest levels of sustainability. This pilot, to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with even higher levels of energy efficiency, will be invaluable in helping decide the best way forward.”
Connswater Homes is one of 34 housing associations registered with the Department for Social Development.
This 40-unit housing scheme will cost around £6million, including land, construction and associated on costs. Some £4.5million will be funded by the Department for Social Development through Housing Association Grant, with Connswater Homes contributing the balance.