Bramford homes plan demonstrates need for energy measures in new council-built homes, says opposition

An illustrative layout for what Suffolk County Council's 114-home Bramford development could look like

An illustrative layout for what Suffolk County Council's 114-home Bramford development could look like - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Sustainable power measures planned for 114 homes on the edge of Ipswich should be considered for other larger county council-linked housing developments, opposition group councillors have said.

Suffolk County Council on Monday unveiled plans for 114 homes it is planning to build on underused county farm land in Bramford between the A14 and Bramford Road.

The development will include solar panels, air source heat pumps and enhanced water efficiency measures to make it environmentally more sustainable.

Cllr Andrew Stringer Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council's opposition group leader Andrew Stringer - Credit: Archant

Andrew Stringer, leader of the council's opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group has welcomed those measures, but said other larger developments the council is involved in should have the same provision.

"We're delighted the county council has finally woken up to fact that it should not be sponsoring developments that will be heated by fossil fuel," he said. 

"Unfortunately, no such stipulations were made for its far larger Chilton Woods development outside Sudbury, where it looks as though developers will be connecting 1,200 new homes to the gas mains, without a clear plan of how this will contribute to our net zero carbon goal.

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"However, unless it is prepared to invest in proper cycle and bus links to connect developments like this to town, it will still be increasing car dependency and resultant emissions."

"The priority ought to be first to get the build right so that energy demand is cut to a minimum and then look at a non fossil fuel power source.

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"The county council wishes to propel Suffolk to become the Greenest County - if we are serious in this endeavour we should have already designed and trialled our own Suffolk Passiv House [an environmental sustainability standard], using local suppliers to not only make our climate challenges easier but to truly back Suffolk’s local economy."

SCC Cllr Richard Smith

Conservative cabinet member for housing at Suffolk County Council, Richard Smith - Credit: Suffolk County Council

As part of ambitions by Conservative council leader Matthew Hicks outlined in 2019, the council is planning to make available some of its own underutilised land for housebuilding, and is pursuing plans to set up a joint venture company that will facilitate that.

Last year, the cabinet agreed £10.9million investment to bring 15-20 sites forward for homes.

Conservative cabinet member for housing, Richard Smith said: “It is absolutely vital that Suffolk has more sustainable homes, and as a council and as a landowner we are determined to play our part in delivering that objective."

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