|| Latest News
15 October 2008: Eastern Daily Press
Details emerge of new eco-town
by Ed Foss
Paul Knowles at the site where some of the new
homes would be built if the Rackheath Eco-Community plans
come to fruition.
Photo: Bill Smith.
To date, detail has been sketchy - but that all changed yesterday
when the developers behind a proposed 3,400-home green community
on the edge of Norwich finally revealed their vision.
The bold “masterplan” follows
speculation since July about what might be built at Rackheath under
of the government's much vaunted eco-town proposals.
725-acre Rackheath Eco-Community has already garnered far more favour
in council circles than a separate eco-town plan
at the former RAF Coltishall, which has received far more attention.
final design at Rackheath would, developers have assured, depend
on what people say locally in consultations.
Speaking to the EDP yesterday,
the man who is co-ordinating the project explained what he hoped
Paul Knowles, chairman of Building Partnerships, a regional
property development company heading the scheme alongside Barratt
Homes and carbon reduction experts from the University of East
Anglia, said the Rackheath site was a perfect location for a
host of reasons.
- Above-average levels of wind to power turbines.
- The presence of an aquifer to provide water, and aggregates to
assist with sustainable construction.
- Mainly brownfield status, having been used as a USAAF bomber airfield
in the latter part of the second world war.
“As well as its proximity to Norwich, it is an ideal place
to tackle a development like this because of the skills available
locally, such as at the UEA's school of environmental sciences
- and they are an integral partner in this,” said Mr Knowles.
key advantage of Rackheath was that it was not in the same mould
as many of the other eco-town projects because it was not
using a greenfield site, said Mr Knowles. Also, it would count
towards wider housebuilding targets set for greater Norwich.
aim was for it to be self-contained in terms of energy, waste and
water, with the potential to export energy. And Mr
Knowles said the existing community of 860 homes at Rackheath
would not be separate to the new houses but part of a single
While the new properties would have to meet a minimum
of code 4 on the Code for Sustainable Homes, the target would be
the top level of code 6 if possible. Help would also be offered
to people living in the existing homes to improve their code
Eco-friendly technology could include wind turbines, groundsource
heat pumps and a combined heat and power biomass plant.
of employment would sit alongside the present Rackheath industrial
estate, the presence of which was particularly helpful
as providing new jobs from scratch would have taken several years.
conceding the scheme might cause concern among some locals, Mr Knowles
said: “We believe there will be quite a high
proportion of people who have positive things to say about this.”
14,000 letters will hit doormats in Rackheath and surr-ounding
communities in the next few days asking people for their views.
To comment or find out more visit www.rackheatheco-community.com
The first consultation exhibition will be held
at Rackheath Primary School on Friday, October 31 from 3pm to 8pm.
continue the next day from 9am to 4pm. The purpose of the exhibition
is to show what is being proposed and give people the opportunity
to leave feedback.
Developers have promised to ensure the “widest possible
engagement with the community” and pledged to provide “open
and honest feedback”.
A consultation event will also be
held in the centre of Norwich.
The feedback received will be collated
and used to produce a report for the developers. Copies of the report
will also be
available to local residents. The report is likely to be an integral
part of any future planning application.
In December, a follow-up
exhibition will be held to show how the plans have progressed and
how the developers have responded
to comments from the first exhibition.