Another housing estate from the last century

21 February 2020

Despite the council declaring a climate emergency Green Party councillors at Mid Suffolk continue to face an uphill struggle to get houses built in the district which are fit for the 21st century.

A frustrating series of planning cases at the Planning Committee culminated in a typical 20th century estate plan which failed to make any use of orientation to minimise energy demand. With electric powered heat pumps the main source of warmth, the estate would demand significant additional power from the grid, yet no on-site generation was proposed. Many roofs faced east west, the poorest orientation, including a majority of the affordable homes.

"Those least able to afford it would face unnecessarily high electricity bills," said Councillor Andrew Stringer, who proposed refusal. This was seconded by Councillor John Matthissen, who pointed out that the council had declared a climate emergency last year, and that household heating was a major source of emissions.

After further debate the committee was split 4:4 but Chair Councillor Hicks’ casting vote was against refusal.

"The failure to seek an optimum design was deeply disappointing, given that less than 2 weeks ago many planners and members had been shown by sustainable housing expert Dr Rehan Khodabuccus how zero emission homes were being built elsewhere," said Councillor Sarah Mansel.

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