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Controversial Norwich homes site could land City Hall housing award

PUBLISHED: 07:14 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 14 November 2018

The new Passivhaus development at Goldsmith Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new Passivhaus development at Goldsmith Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

From controversy to accolade - a Norwich housing development is up for an award.

Gail Harris, deputy leader of the city council in one of the four bedroom houses at the new Passivhaus development at Goldsmith Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGail Harris, deputy leader of the city council in one of the four bedroom houses at the new Passivhaus development at Goldsmith Street. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The council’s approach to housing, which includes a 105-home social housing and Passivhaus development in Goldsmith Street and new homes in Bowthorpe, is in the running for a prize at the LGC Awards next year.

The Goldsmith Street design has already won the Housing Design Award in 2016 and was also included in the top 10 in the world for new architecture in 2018 by The Times.

When complete, the site will become the country’s largest Passivhaus scheme for social rent.

Properties built to ‘Passivhaus’ standard are the highest certifiable standard of energy efficiency, resulting in ultra-low energy buildings that need very little fuel for heating or cooling.

The council says heating costs in a Passivhaus can be up to 70 per cent cheaper compared to the average UK home.

And the council’s submission about the site saw judges name Norwich City Council as a finalist in the ‘Housing initiative’ category for the 2019 LGC Awards – which recognise the best of local government innovation and service delivery.

Gail Harris, Norwich City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for social housing said: “As a provider of social housing we opted for creative, modern and eco-efficient homes for these particular developments.

“I’m so pleased the LGC judges recognised this commitment and put us in the running with a number of other councils which have their own story to tell when it comes to providing imaginative solutions to housing problems.”

LGC editor Nick Golding said: “The councils that have been shortlisted for an LGC Award are among the most innovative – and their innovation is providing the best services for residents, despite local government facing enormous budget cuts.

“The officers and councillors of shortlisted councils deserve enormous credit for thinking of new ways to deliver the best services, ensuring vital services thrive in the era of austerity.”

Also in the running for the housing initiative award are Blaby District Council, Brent London Borough Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Essex County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and Thurrock Council.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on March 13 next year.

The site made national headlines in 2008 because City Hall staff had, contrary to council policy, moved into homes on the Greyhound Opening and Goldsmith Street site.

People living in some houses were being re-homed ahead of redevelopment of the site.

The council had agreed officers relocating to Norwich could move into some empty properties, so elderly people who had yet to move would not feel isolated. But it was against policy for other staff to move in.

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