Preparations finally start to build the Bicester Eco Town + Video

Bicester Advertiser: Steve Hornblow at the site of the Eco Town due to be built in North Bicester Steve Hornblow at the site of the Eco Town due to be built in North Bicester

WORK on the UK’s first eco-town in Bicester has officially started.

Developer A2Dominion confirmed yesterday final legal agreements and testing at the site were taking place ahead of bulldozers rumbling on to the land in mid-March.

In December, the firm secured 51 acres of farmland off the B4100, Banbury Road, for the first phase of 393 homes – 30 per cent of which will be affordable – an energy centre, eco business centre, pub, shops and school.

Bicester Advertiser:

  • An artist's impression of the development

Work on the energy centre – which will pump heat through underground pipes to homes – will start in July, and construction of the first homes should be under way in August.

Project director Steve Hornblow said he hoped the first show homes would be available for people to view from early 2015.

  • Watch the video

A total of 94 homes will be built in the initial stage and the first occupants are expected to move into the first homes in April next year.

Homes will be carbon neutral, with solar panels to generate electricity, water harvesting facilities, triple glazing and better insulation to keep the buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer months.

Mr Hornblow said: “The feeling here is that A2 Dominion is proud to announce it has started work on the first eco-town in the UK.

“There will be some activity on site in the coming weeks, but the big machinery will be going on to site in mid March. It is very exciting.”

Mr Hornblow said there had been a lot of interest locally in the homes and from people as far afield as Cambridge and London.

He said: “We are confident there is a demand there for these type of houses. It’s becoming more prevalent that people are taking more of a view on where their energy is coming from, the cost of producing it and the cost of energy bills.

 

Bicester Advertiser:

  • An artist's impression of the development

“We want to approach sustainable living realistically, providing people with the tools to benefit from a real community environment, reduced home running costs and access to the latest green technologies.”

A2Dominion’s group chief commercial officer and deputy group chief executive, John Knevett, said: “NW Bicester will be an example to future developments in establishing sustainable new communities in the UK.

“We will create an outstanding living environment, which will provide exceptional quality of life for residents, without compromising the needs of our future generations.”

Bicester Advertiser:

  • Another artist's impression of the development

A masterplan for the entire site is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council during the spring.

Comments (21)

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11:24am Tue 28 Jan 14

to ny w says...

BaECON keep on asking the same question, what happens if they dont sell?
A2 reckon it could take up to 30 YEARS , yes 30 years, to complete the 6,000 houses that are planned on 850 acres.

With no major developers interested in building on this site Cherwell D C are hanging on to this Housing Association or RSL as they are now known, to make a finacial success or it will end up as a partially built ghost town.

You've been warned!!!
BaECON keep on asking the same question, what happens if they dont sell? A2 reckon it could take up to 30 YEARS , yes 30 years, to complete the 6,000 houses that are planned on 850 acres. With no major developers interested in building on this site Cherwell D C are hanging on to this Housing Association or RSL as they are now known, to make a finacial success or it will end up as a partially built ghost town. You've been warned!!! to ny w

1:12pm Tue 28 Jan 14

CupHalfFull says...

BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.
BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building. CupHalfFull

2:01pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

Normally 'green' or 'eco' implies expensive or not value for money, like electric car, solar and wind power etc. which can exist only with heavy subsidies by the taxpayers. I don't know what subsides are there for these eco homes, so have to wait and see their selling prices before knowing whether they are financially viable or not.
Normally 'green' or 'eco' implies expensive or not value for money, like electric car, solar and wind power etc. which can exist only with heavy subsidies by the taxpayers. I don't know what subsides are there for these eco homes, so have to wait and see their selling prices before knowing whether they are financially viable or not. Bicester retired

4:35pm Tue 28 Jan 14

to ny w says...

Bicester retired wrote:
Normally 'green' or 'eco' implies expensive or not value for money, like electric car, solar and wind power etc. which can exist only with heavy subsidies by the taxpayers. I don't know what subsides are there for these eco homes, so have to wait and see their selling prices before knowing whether they are financially viable or not.
Well at some stage £12 m of public money was required to pump prime the sites infrastructure costs. CDC then suggested that they would recover it from future devlopers post the' Exemplar' stage of 393 houses. They are gambling there will be a Phase !!.
The hundred plus rental uniots would, presumably, get grants to subsidise them as well,
A2Dominion issued a 'housing bond' to the markets to secure their own funding. I wonder if the clearing banks noses were put out of joint, or were they relieved?
BaECON have constantly queried CDC's motives in promoting this greenfield site instead of promoting brownfield alternatives. How sustainable is using farmland?
One of our concerns is the viability of this pipe dream. 30 years worth of building works doesnt seem to boost this idea as being a winner.
We also predict that, as the softening proces of the A2 masterplan now indicates that code 6 sustainabilty, which they originally championed, will not happen. A minimium of Code 4 is suggested by them for the balance of the site.
The ECO dream is fading, folks.
Watch this space.
[quote][p][bold]Bicester retired[/bold] wrote: Normally 'green' or 'eco' implies expensive or not value for money, like electric car, solar and wind power etc. which can exist only with heavy subsidies by the taxpayers. I don't know what subsides are there for these eco homes, so have to wait and see their selling prices before knowing whether they are financially viable or not.[/p][/quote]Well at some stage £12 m of public money was required to pump prime the sites infrastructure costs. CDC then suggested that they would recover it from future devlopers post the' Exemplar' stage of 393 houses. They are gambling there will be a Phase !!. The hundred plus rental uniots would, presumably, get grants to subsidise them as well, A2Dominion issued a 'housing bond' to the markets to secure their own funding. I wonder if the clearing banks noses were put out of joint, or were they relieved? BaECON have constantly queried CDC's motives in promoting this greenfield site instead of promoting brownfield alternatives. How sustainable is using farmland? One of our concerns is the viability of this pipe dream. 30 years worth of building works doesnt seem to boost this idea as being a winner. We also predict that, as the softening proces of the A2 masterplan now indicates that code 6 sustainabilty, which they originally championed, will not happen. A minimium of Code 4 is suggested by them for the balance of the site. The ECO dream is fading, folks. Watch this space. to ny w

4:37pm Tue 28 Jan 14

to ny w says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.
BaECON arent easily fooled.Unlike others that have been sucked in by the propoganda.
Eyes wide open folks.
www.baecon.blogspot.
co.uk
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.[/p][/quote]BaECON arent easily fooled.Unlike others that have been sucked in by the propoganda. Eyes wide open folks. www.baecon.blogspot. co.uk to ny w

7:02pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

to ny w:
This country is in real need of more housing. It is only a matter of choice whether houses are built on greenfield or brownfield. It seems that the government is using the 'eco' brand just to counter objections to building houses near local residents or on greenfield. As we all know that 'green' or 'eco' needs heavy subsidies from the taxpayers to exist, I am concerned that most subsidies will be channelled to the profit of the developers. Put it in another way is that without the 'eco' brand, the developers should be able to build the houses without any subsidies (or a lot less) from the taxpayers. Personally, I don't think that it is tax well spent as far as subsidies on 'eco' housing is concerned.
to ny w: This country is in real need of more housing. It is only a matter of choice whether houses are built on greenfield or brownfield. It seems that the government is using the 'eco' brand just to counter objections to building houses near local residents or on greenfield. As we all know that 'green' or 'eco' needs heavy subsidies from the taxpayers to exist, I am concerned that most subsidies will be channelled to the profit of the developers. Put it in another way is that without the 'eco' brand, the developers should be able to build the houses without any subsidies (or a lot less) from the taxpayers. Personally, I don't think that it is tax well spent as far as subsidies on 'eco' housing is concerned. Bicester retired

7:47pm Tue 28 Jan 14

CupHalfFull says...

Bicester Retired,
the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell.
Bicester Retired, the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell. CupHalfFull

8:49pm Tue 28 Jan 14

to ny w says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
Bicester Retired,
the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell.
The numbers work at Kingmere, they didn't need public money to get that up and running!
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: Bicester Retired, the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell.[/p][/quote]The numbers work at Kingmere, they didn't need public money to get that up and running! to ny w

9:39pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

CupHalfFull:
It is fine that the government pays for the infrastructure but building eco homes is a separate matter as it could be 30-50% more costly than conventional. Without subsidies, the selling prices of finished eco homes will not be competitive, bearing in mind that most ordinary people do struggle in getting just the deposit for conventional homes.

I think that the Cherwell council is in a very weak position to bargain with the developers because building eco homes is not market driven but rather dictated by central government. With the very likely subsidies to reduce the selling price to make it competitive, I can only hope that the built eco homes will not become another investment opportunity for the rich with much cash at hand.
CupHalfFull: It is fine that the government pays for the infrastructure but building eco homes is a separate matter as it could be 30-50% more costly than conventional. Without subsidies, the selling prices of finished eco homes will not be competitive, bearing in mind that most ordinary people do struggle in getting just the deposit for conventional homes. I think that the Cherwell council is in a very weak position to bargain with the developers because building eco homes is not market driven but rather dictated by central government. With the very likely subsidies to reduce the selling price to make it competitive, I can only hope that the built eco homes will not become another investment opportunity for the rich with much cash at hand. Bicester retired

10:23pm Tue 28 Jan 14

CupHalfFull says...

Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done.
Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done. CupHalfFull

10:26pm Tue 28 Jan 14

CupHalfFull says...

to ny - where is the school at Kingsmere? where is the shop? Yes that's right a typical development with the only infrastructure having been built is a road round the outside. Not even enough funding for the sports pitches that we are supposed to be getting - that is the face of your developers? Also - how much affordable housing is going in?
to ny - where is the school at Kingsmere? where is the shop? Yes that's right a typical development with the only infrastructure having been built is a road round the outside. Not even enough funding for the sports pitches that we are supposed to be getting - that is the face of your developers? Also - how much affordable housing is going in? CupHalfFull

10:43pm Tue 28 Jan 14

to ny w says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
to ny - where is the school at Kingsmere? where is the shop? Yes that's right a typical development with the only infrastructure having been built is a road round the outside. Not even enough funding for the sports pitches that we are supposed to be getting - that is the face of your developers? Also - how much affordable housing is going in?
If you drive round you will see loads of social housing. Try pontefreact way , David Wilson's estate.
Cherwell will not be funding shops and pubs at Eco con, they funding that was sought was for access , roads etc.
I have worked in development and I know how the numbers work, this one does not stand on its own coommercial feet without support. The first of those id discounted land to offset the high build costs. A2 took 18 months to renegotiate their option with the land owner as the figures went south.
When this ends up partially built, you will reflect and think, mmmm, maybe they were right to question the commercial viability.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: to ny - where is the school at Kingsmere? where is the shop? Yes that's right a typical development with the only infrastructure having been built is a road round the outside. Not even enough funding for the sports pitches that we are supposed to be getting - that is the face of your developers? Also - how much affordable housing is going in?[/p][/quote]If you drive round you will see loads of social housing. Try pontefreact way , David Wilson's estate. Cherwell will not be funding shops and pubs at Eco con, they funding that was sought was for access , roads etc. I have worked in development and I know how the numbers work, this one does not stand on its own coommercial feet without support. The first of those id discounted land to offset the high build costs. A2 took 18 months to renegotiate their option with the land owner as the figures went south. When this ends up partially built, you will reflect and think, mmmm, maybe they were right to question the commercial viability. to ny w

1:14am Wed 29 Jan 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.
New ways of living has nothing to do with it - what BaEcon object to is using £12m of taxpayers' money to fund a private development, with no serious development backer, and no masterplan, and absolutely NO plan as to how Cherwell DC will get its money back, or when. And there isn't even ANY kind of plan. And side-stepping the planning process by giving permission for the "exemplar" prior to there being any sort of masterplan in place, despite this being a planning requirement.

I wish A2Dominion the best of luck in building homes which can lead the way, and I personally would love to see better building standards - but I question if Cherwell DC is so keen on eco-homes, why haven't they insisted on the same building standards for ALL new houses in Bicester?

From the very beginning the "eco" town has been a badly conceived, badly thought through, and not even implemented idea. What we need is some sensible planners, who can take a step back and start planning Bicester's future properly, rather than the half-arsed amateurs who have been running the show over the past few years.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.[/p][/quote]New ways of living has nothing to do with it - what BaEcon object to is using £12m of taxpayers' money to fund a private development, with no serious development backer, and no masterplan, and absolutely NO plan as to how Cherwell DC will get its money back, or when. And there isn't even ANY kind of plan. And side-stepping the planning process by giving permission for the "exemplar" prior to there being any sort of masterplan in place, despite this being a planning requirement. I wish A2Dominion the best of luck in building homes which can lead the way, and I personally would love to see better building standards - but I question if Cherwell DC is so keen on eco-homes, why haven't they insisted on the same building standards for ALL new houses in Bicester? From the very beginning the "eco" town has been a badly conceived, badly thought through, and not even implemented idea. What we need is some sensible planners, who can take a step back and start planning Bicester's future properly, rather than the half-arsed amateurs who have been running the show over the past few years. Severian

1:23am Wed 29 Jan 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
Bicester Retired,
the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell.
Bure Park NEVER had a planned church. There was a plot of land set aside in the Section 106 agreement for a multi-denominational place of worship, IF (and only if) someone wanted to build and pay for it. If no-one took on the site by a particular date the developer was allowed to sell the land off. As it turned out the CoE managed to get the funds together and build the church, not the developers or the Council.

And the school is the size it was for a very good reason - that was the size that the County Council and District Council agreed with the developers. In other words, our planners at CDC got it wrong. The very same people who are supposedly ensuring the Eco-town is properly planned.

The £12m from central government was given to CDC to spend on making Bicester an eco-friendly town, to be used for the good of ALL the people of Bicester. Cherwell DC has hijacked this money and is using it to support a highly speculative development of the Exemplar, with no masterplan in place, and no guarantees about when and even IF we will ever see our £12m ever again. Meanwhile A2Dominion who have apparently taken over the role of developers (despite having no experience as such) just launched an investment bond which brought them in £500m (yes - five hundred million pounds). Given that A2D now has that amount of money available to it, why are WE expected to subsidise the building of this development? If A2D is so confident about the eco-town THEY should spend THEIR money and free up OUR cash to spend on US!
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: Bicester Retired, the millions that to ny w refers to being paid by central government to Cherwell are for infrastructure before building. That is something that I as a local resident absolutely applaud. Too many housing estates are constructed by traditional developers without the proper infrastructure. Look at Bure Park, built 12 years ago, and still the school isn't the right size, and the church that was in the original plans only got built a year ago. I am sure that you are right about the cost of the houses, they have to be on a par, or only just a little more expensive than normal houses such that the savings on energy more than match any increase in mortgage costs. Mind you, seeing the prices that the new houses are selling for on Kingsmere, the Eco Houses could be comparatively expensive and still sell.[/p][/quote]Bure Park NEVER had a planned church. There was a plot of land set aside in the Section 106 agreement for a multi-denominational place of worship, IF (and only if) someone wanted to build and pay for it. If no-one took on the site by a particular date the developer was allowed to sell the land off. As it turned out the CoE managed to get the funds together and build the church, not the developers or the Council. And the school is the size it was for a very good reason - that was the size that the County Council and District Council agreed with the developers. In other words, our planners at CDC got it wrong. The very same people who are supposedly ensuring the Eco-town is properly planned. The £12m from central government was given to CDC to spend on making Bicester an eco-friendly town, to be used for the good of ALL the people of Bicester. Cherwell DC has hijacked this money and is using it to support a highly speculative development of the Exemplar, with no masterplan in place, and no guarantees about when and even IF we will ever see our £12m ever again. Meanwhile A2Dominion who have apparently taken over the role of developers (despite having no experience as such) just launched an investment bond which brought them in £500m (yes - five hundred million pounds). Given that A2D now has that amount of money available to it, why are WE expected to subsidise the building of this development? If A2D is so confident about the eco-town THEY should spend THEIR money and free up OUR cash to spend on US! Severian

1:31am Wed 29 Jan 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done.
It appears that the NW Bicester development hasn't got very far at all! So far they have chopped down the hedges and put up some metal barriers. The plan is already at least 2 years behind, and the promised Masterplan (which was meant to be produced before ANY building work was started) has not even been created. We have been promised that it will probably be ready about May time - around 4 years after it should have been produced.

Even Cherwell DC now accepts that of the initial 5,000 homes (which is now proposed to be 6,000 because they are going to build on more green open space than they first said they would) only about half will actually be built within the next 20 years.

Not only that but the people involved in the project don't even own the land on which they intend to build this eco-town. And already other companies are submitting applications to build industrial units on part of the proposed site.

There is a very real danger that what we will end up with is an isolated development of just 400 houses that is economically unsustainable (i.e. there will be too few properties to justify the promised pub, shops, small businesses etc.) and a primary school that (if it is ever built) will be underutilised and massively expensive for the County Council to maintain.

There is nothing wrong with having a dream of an eco-town, or eco-estates. What is wrong is that our planners have done anything but plan this - it is a dog's dinner.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done.[/p][/quote]It appears that the NW Bicester development hasn't got very far at all! So far they have chopped down the hedges and put up some metal barriers. The plan is already at least 2 years behind, and the promised Masterplan (which was meant to be produced before ANY building work was started) has not even been created. We have been promised that it will probably be ready about May time - around 4 years after it should have been produced. Even Cherwell DC now accepts that of the initial 5,000 homes (which is now proposed to be 6,000 because they are going to build on more green open space than they first said they would) only about half will actually be built within the next 20 years. Not only that but the people involved in the project don't even own the land on which they intend to build this eco-town. And already other companies are submitting applications to build industrial units on part of the proposed site. There is a very real danger that what we will end up with is an isolated development of just 400 houses that is economically unsustainable (i.e. there will be too few properties to justify the promised pub, shops, small businesses etc.) and a primary school that (if it is ever built) will be underutilised and massively expensive for the County Council to maintain. There is nothing wrong with having a dream of an eco-town, or eco-estates. What is wrong is that our planners have done anything but plan this - it is a dog's dinner. Severian

9:00am Wed 29 Jan 14

CupHalfFull says...

All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell.
Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need.
With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging.
All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell. Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need. With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging. CupHalfFull

9:23am Wed 29 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done.
Is it true that this 'eco' town will be the first in England ? Then how can I show you the evidence ? We can just wait and see. Home buyers are most concerned about the property price. Look at past examples such as the mandatory specification of energy efficiency of homes for selling. Do buyers really care about it ? How about electric cars ? Do you own one ? Can you name one 'eco' project which was able to proceed without heavy subsidies from the taxpayers ?

All developers work for profits. The Cherwell DC have their hands tied by the central government to build eco homes. At this moment, there seems to be no other way out, except pouring taxpayers' money into the project to enable it to proceed. If you were a developer, would you build thousands of houses which are 30-50% more costly to build than normal, hoping to get a profit ?

Town planning has little to do in this case. Everything has improved from past years. New towns should always better old towns. Otherwise, we have learned nothing from the past.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: Bicester Retired - fantasy - "likely subsidies to reduce the selling price" - show me evidence in England where this has occurred. I also hope that local people will benefit from being able to buy an Eco-home. Actually the fact that the developer is a social housing provider rather than one of to ny's much lamented "developers" gives me hope that local people and those in need of affordable housing will get it rather than buy to letter or any other speculative investor. On the other hand it is an open market - so let us see, and then we will really find out whether the Jeremiahs are right, after all they predicted that the NW Bicester development would never get as far as it appears to have done.[/p][/quote]Is it true that this 'eco' town will be the first in England ? Then how can I show you the evidence ? We can just wait and see. Home buyers are most concerned about the property price. Look at past examples such as the mandatory specification of energy efficiency of homes for selling. Do buyers really care about it ? How about electric cars ? Do you own one ? Can you name one 'eco' project which was able to proceed without heavy subsidies from the taxpayers ? All developers work for profits. The Cherwell DC have their hands tied by the central government to build eco homes. At this moment, there seems to be no other way out, except pouring taxpayers' money into the project to enable it to proceed. If you were a developer, would you build thousands of houses which are 30-50% more costly to build than normal, hoping to get a profit ? Town planning has little to do in this case. Everything has improved from past years. New towns should always better old towns. Otherwise, we have learned nothing from the past. Bicester retired

9:40am Wed 29 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell.
Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need.
With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging.
Energy prices are rising because of all the 'green' and 'eco' ideas and additional green taxes forced upon us by the government. You are absolutely correct to say that 'we need to do something about climate change' is a POLITICAL BELIEF. If not, how come that the energy prices are much lower in the USA than in Europe ?

Look at the world around you, many countries, including Japan, Australia, Canada and even Europe are now winding back on this political belief. China, India, USA etc. have never really done anything about it.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell. Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need. With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging.[/p][/quote]Energy prices are rising because of all the 'green' and 'eco' ideas and additional green taxes forced upon us by the government. You are absolutely correct to say that 'we need to do something about climate change' is a POLITICAL BELIEF. If not, how come that the energy prices are much lower in the USA than in Europe ? Look at the world around you, many countries, including Japan, Australia, Canada and even Europe are now winding back on this political belief. China, India, USA etc. have never really done anything about it. Bicester retired

12:14pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell.
Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need.
With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging.
In this case NO developers have shown any imagination - or money. The reason is simple - they know that the economics don't stack up in a town where the other 10,000+ houses being built will not be to the same environmental (i.e. more expensive) standards.

A2Dominion has stepped in as the "developer" of the Exemplar because they had to - in exchange for the government giving them large subsidies for their social housing, of which there will be a lot on the exemplar. No other serious business has shown any interest in the exemplar, or any other part of the proposed development, because they know it won't make them any money.

The whole eco-town concept was a con put together by the previous Labour government to make it sound like they were doing something about the environment and housing, while actually not doing very much. The incoming Tory/Lib Dem government killed off the eco-towns on coming to office - although CDC had already got their hands on some of the cash already.

We need to be clear here that BaEcon isn't opposed to Bicester growing, or to eco houses. What we want though is some properly thought through and implemented planning, at no additional cost or risk to the local taxpayer, rather than the political pet party project which we have at the minute.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: All I'm hearing is "things were done better in my day" - doesn't sound like a recipe for progress. I say good on Cherwell for getting money out of the Government for building houses that are so desperately needed and helping the infrastructure along. So it has taken a bit longer than hoped to get this site of the ground? Is that a reason to **** it? Hardly. I am willing to bet that this scheme is a success but time will tell. Also to ny w, as I say - your credentials in development whatever they are, are hardly a ringing endorsement of your criticism of the Eco town. Too few developers ever show any imagination and as previously mentioned too many identikit housing estates have been built all over the country without the proper infrastructure that they need. With global energy prices rising all the time and the political belief that we need to do something about climate change, this is exactly the kind of experiment that needs encouraging.[/p][/quote]In this case NO developers have shown any imagination - or money. The reason is simple - they know that the economics don't stack up in a town where the other 10,000+ houses being built will not be to the same environmental (i.e. more expensive) standards. A2Dominion has stepped in as the "developer" of the Exemplar because they had to - in exchange for the government giving them large subsidies for their social housing, of which there will be a lot on the exemplar. No other serious business has shown any interest in the exemplar, or any other part of the proposed development, because they know it won't make them any money. The whole eco-town concept was a con put together by the previous Labour government to make it sound like they were doing something about the environment and housing, while actually not doing very much. The incoming Tory/Lib Dem government killed off the eco-towns on coming to office - although CDC had already got their hands on some of the cash already. We need to be clear here that BaEcon isn't opposed to Bicester growing, or to eco houses. What we want though is some properly thought through and implemented planning, at no additional cost or risk to the local taxpayer, rather than the political pet party project which we have at the minute. Severian

12:17pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.
Where did you get that from? I think you will find that our submission to the Draft Local Development Plan actually calls for ALL new housing in Bicester to be built to the same environmental standards. If Bicester REALLY wants to be an eco-town, we should insist on it for everyone, not just the Exemplar.

The problem is we have some half-assed planning going on, with politicians (who don't live in or near Bicester) making policy up on the hoof and imposing their white elephants on us.
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.[/p][/quote]Where did you get that from? I think you will find that our submission to the Draft Local Development Plan actually calls for ALL new housing in Bicester to be built to the same environmental standards. If Bicester REALLY wants to be an eco-town, we should insist on it for everyone, not just the Exemplar. The problem is we have some half-assed planning going on, with politicians (who don't live in or near Bicester) making policy up on the hoof and imposing their white elephants on us. Severian

1:48pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Bicester retired says...

Severian wrote:
CupHalfFull wrote:
BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.
Where did you get that from? I think you will find that our submission to the Draft Local Development Plan actually calls for ALL new housing in Bicester to be built to the same environmental standards. If Bicester REALLY wants to be an eco-town, we should insist on it for everyone, not just the Exemplar.

The problem is we have some half-assed planning going on, with politicians (who don't live in or near Bicester) making policy up on the hoof and imposing their white elephants on us.
As I said before, the 'eco' brand was used by the government to counter objections to building houses near local residents or on greenfield. Many will be deceived in thinking, without looking into details, that all 'eco' are good and 'others' are bad and will give their full support. Personally, I have no strong views on housing developments whether they are 'eco' or not. I just don't want to be forced to pay to subsidise others to buy their dream homes. Everybody can install solar panels, water recycle system etc. at one's home. Just don't ask me to make any subsidy as I have paid with my own money for my own compost box, rain water butts, recycle bins, water saving shower heads, energy saving light bulbs and electric appliances, gas combination hot water boiler, roof and wall insulations etc. Are we living in a free world ?
[quote][p][bold]Severian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: BaEcon are stuck in an evolutionary rut refusing to adapt to new ways of living and new ways of building.[/p][/quote]Where did you get that from? I think you will find that our submission to the Draft Local Development Plan actually calls for ALL new housing in Bicester to be built to the same environmental standards. If Bicester REALLY wants to be an eco-town, we should insist on it for everyone, not just the Exemplar. The problem is we have some half-assed planning going on, with politicians (who don't live in or near Bicester) making policy up on the hoof and imposing their white elephants on us.[/p][/quote]As I said before, the 'eco' brand was used by the government to counter objections to building houses near local residents or on greenfield. Many will be deceived in thinking, without looking into details, that all 'eco' are good and 'others' are bad and will give their full support. Personally, I have no strong views on housing developments whether they are 'eco' or not. I just don't want to be forced to pay to subsidise others to buy their dream homes. Everybody can install solar panels, water recycle system etc. at one's home. Just don't ask me to make any subsidy as I have paid with my own money for my own compost box, rain water butts, recycle bins, water saving shower heads, energy saving light bulbs and electric appliances, gas combination hot water boiler, roof and wall insulations etc. Are we living in a free world ? Bicester retired

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