The Council has purchased 20 Section 106 affordable housing plots as part of consented residential scheme in the village of Bishops Tachbrook. The budget for the purchase of these plots included over £200,000 towards the delivery of a climate upgrade specification. These upgrades have been agreed with the site developer and will be delivered by the house build. They include range of measures such as PV to all social plots, improved cavity insulation and air source heat pumps.
The consented scheme proposed all the dwellings on the site would meet on the minimum building regulation requirements in relation to energy efficiency. The Council's housing service was keen to ensure that the Section 106 properties which it purchased should align with the Council's climate change ambitions. The developer could not be required to do this and needed to accommodate different building standards for the social and market dwellings during the construction process. They could have sold the s106 plots to an alternative social housing provider.
Through careful negotiation and by making a financial contribution, the Council was able to agree a substantial upgrade for each of the 20 plots it purchased. This was greed at Cabinet in February 2021 and the development is now under construction. The upgrades include:
- external doors - increased U value to 1.20 W/m2K
- solar PV to all social plots
- increase cavity to 125mm (increased lintel width, wall ties, cavity closer and cavity insulation)
- air source heat pump, with underfloor heating to ground floor and radiators to first floor, in lieu gas boilers/standard heating.
If you don't ask, you don't get. We were initially sceptical that the developer would agree to the proposals as it required them to use different building standards and techniques across the site. By agreeing the upgrades for one site, the Council has also been able to bring forward similar upgrades on other s106 sites in the District. We are setting an example for the housebuilders to learn from.