Call for council offices homes scheme to be eco-friendly

Cllr Rachel Smith-Lyte would like eco-friendly homes to be built at Melton Hill.

Cllr Rachel Smith-Lyte would like eco-friendly homes to be built at the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Melton Hill. - Credit: Katy Sandalls

A councillor would like to see the site of a Suffolk council's former HQ developed with energy-efficient housing similar to an award-winning scheme in Norwich. 

East Suffolk councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte said she wanted the 105-home Goldsmith Street development to be used as the template for the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Melton Hill, Woodbridge. 

East Suffolk councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte

East Suffolk councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte - Credit: Archant

In 2019, the terraced properties were named the winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Stirling Prize, awarded to the nation’s best new building, in recognition of the environmentally-sustainable and socially-conscious design. 

The homes - a mix of 45 one-bedroom flats, 40 two-bedroom houses, three two-bedroom flats and five four-bedroom flats - were built to eco-friendly Passivhaus standards, ultra-low energy buildings which need little fuel for heating or cooling. 

However, Ms Smith-Lyte said when she spoke to senior officers and members of the council, she was told the authority lacked the "expertise and finance" to pursue a similar project at Melton Hill. 

She added: “I did speak to Norwich City Council about it and they said it was expensive but they don’t regret it. The residents certainly love living there.  

“I’ve written to Rose Builders along the same lines. We need a housing and energy revolution and the ‘Passivhaus’ design and insulation retro-fitting Britain so badly needs would be a good start.” 

ROSE builders are planning to build 100 homes at Melton Hill

ROSE builders are planning to build 100 homes at Melton Hill - Credit: ROSE

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Earlier this week, the EADT reported that the council had spent nearly £1.5million maintaining and securing the offices since moving to Riduna Park in Melton in 2016. 

Ms Smith-Lyte said it was "regrettable" that the costs were so high, but the council did have a responsibility to secure the building. 

She added: “The security and maintenance bills do seem high on first appearance, but it’s a very big building and six years is a sizeable chunk of time. If measures hadn’t been taken to maintain and protect the building it could have fallen into disrepair and become a danger, suffered break-ins etc.” 

On Thursday (June 16), construction firm ROSE Builders will be holding a public consultation after unveiling plans to build 100 homes at Melton Hill as part of a new estate which will be known as King’s View.

Active Urban's plans for Melton Hill, known as 'cheese wedges.'

Active Urban's plans for Melton Hill, known as 'cheese wedges.' - Credit: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS

The site had previously been earmarked by developer Active Urban for 100 homes known as ‘cheese wedges’ because of their design, which attracted 200 objections on the basis of their impact on air quality and their effect on the view of the historic Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ground.