Homes good for pocket and the planet

The first homes at our Passivhaus low-energy development in Whitleigh have been completed.

Our construction partners Mi-space have been putting the finishes touches to 23 properties at the development at Primrose Park, the largest of its kind in the South West.

The homes – six flats and 13 houses for rent and four shared ownership houses for sale – are the first of 72 homes to be completed at the site.

We’ve worked in partnership with Plymouth City Council after they gifted us the land as part of the Get Plymouth Building programme.

Passivhaus is an energy standard with excellent thermal performance, meaning bills are extremely low.

When the scheme is complete later this year, 23 homes will be available for shared ownership sale through SO Living and 49 for affordable rent.

Some of the new residents joined PCH and PCH Manufacturing staff, Plymouth City Council officers and councillors, Mi-space representatives and other partners at a celebration event on Tuesday to mark the handover.

Also attending the event were Richard and Sue Harper, relatives of the late Budshead councillor Jack Thompson. As well as being a city councillor, Jack was a PCH Board member and former chair of our Development Committee.

Furthermore, Thompson Road, one of the roads within the scheme, has been named in his honour.

PCH Manufacturing made and installed the triple-glazed windows and doors on the homes, which help to achieve Passivhaus standards.

Shula Agambar and her four-year-old son are among the first shared owners to move into Primrose Park.

Shula, who has been living with her parents in Roborough, said: “This house is very close to where my nan lives. She’s housebound. I will be able to see her a lot more.

“My son and I have been sharing a bedroom at my parents’ house so my son is very excited he will be getting his own room.

“I’ve been trying to buy since my son was born. I’ve looked at a couple of places but this was the first one I really liked.

“I love that there will be lower bills. I’m really into being green anyway – recycling and getting rid of plastic. That aspect really appealed to me.

“I’ve got a garden too. I’ve taken cuttings from my dad’s veg patch to bring along!”

Lindsey Jago has been a PCH tenant since her daughter was born in 2007 but she and her partner Ben Kerswill have recently managed to buy a home at Primrose Park through SO Living.

The mum of two said: “I was at my sister’s in Coventry last summer and she suggested shared ownership. Friends of hers had done it. I didn’t think I would be able to. When I got back I began looking into it. I spoke to Vicki at SO Living and asked for more info and then began going through the process.

“I did look at homes in Southway and North Prospect but I really wanted to stay in Whitleigh. My daughter goes to Whitleigh Primary. It’s not too close to town but it’s not too far away either. We like going for walks and the woods are really near here.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own property. It’s security for the kids too.”

Ben attended the handover event. He said: “We’ve hardly had the heating on. Even during that really snowy and cold weekend we reckon we only paid £4 that weekend on gas. I think we’re paying something like £1.40 a day on gas and electric and it’s not like we’ve been holding back.”

Nick Jackson, PCH Director of Business Services and Development, said: “These homes will reduce bills due to their unique design, making them some of the most affordable homes to live in in Plymouth.

“We know from talking to our residents that paying energy bills is a big issue for many of them. This is only set to increase as energy costs continue to rise.

“Hopefully these will be homes that are good for the pocket and the planet." 

David Pengelly, Operations Manager for Mi-space, which is part of the Midas Group, said: “As a regionally based business which works so closely with our local communities, we are really delighted to be seeing these homes come to life with families moving in.

“It is a fantastic project which sets new standards for low energy housing development on this scale and one we are very proud of – and I know this is shared by PCH, with whom we’ve worked so closely, by Plymouth City Council and now by the people who will be living here.”

Councillor Steve Ricketts, Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery, added: “It gives me immense pleasure to be able to see people moving into these wonderful new homes.

“Developments like this are testament to the success of the Plymouth Housing Development Partnership in delivering invaluable affordable and accessible housing for those who most need it.”

Main picture: Ben Kerswill with his daughter

Second picture: Steven Ricketts, PCH Board member Graham Stirling, David Pengelly, Richard Harper, PCH Head of Development Andrew Lawrie and Susan Harper