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Plan for eco-village in Canterbury

By Jack Dyson

Developers are hoping to trigger a wave of eco-villages across the district if "the first fully sustainable, green residential estate in the UK" is approved in Canterbury.

Father and son team Ralph and Alistair Noel plan to build 19 two-bedroom houses in Goose Farm, Broad Oak.

Each home will be clad in panels that enhance insulation and will have rainwater recycling systems, ground source heating and solar panels.

A computer-generated image of what the eco-village would like like
A computer-generated image of what the eco-village would like like

“The houses will be fully self-sufficient and have carbon neutral status,” said Alistair, who runs development firm Citinests.

“People living there will not be paying any electricity or gas bills; in fact, the electricity generated by the solar panels and ground source heating should be feeding back into the grid and making money.

“They will only have to pay for their council tax and a water bill – because drinking water needs to come from the mains.

"It’s an eco-village that will be the first of its kind.”

Each home will be entitled to two electric bikes, which will benefit from the Noels’ hopes to add rubber mesh to a 1.2-mile footpath linking the site to the railway crossing in Broad Oak Road.

The Noels also said they are looking at potentially installing rechargeable Tesla batteries to top up energy levels in the homes when needed.

Ralph and Alistair Noel
Ralph and Alistair Noel

However, they believe the estate’s electric car share scheme will separate it from other similar developments around the country.

“There will be 10 Nissan Leafs and 10 charging points on the site,” Ralph said.

“Those in affordable housing will also be able to tap into the car shares and because of this there won’t be any incentive to own a car.

“We’ll have 21 parking spaces – 10 for the Nissan Leafs and 11 for visitors.

"We want people to use the electric cars, their bikes or public transport to get to work.”

The green initiatives will add about £45,000 to the build cost of each house, but the Noels say it is too early to say at exactly what price they will hit the market.

"The houses will be fully self-sufficient and have carbon neutral status" - Alistair Noel

They do concede, however, that buyers will pay a premium for the unique properties, while stating that 40% of them will remain affordable.

Alistair is aiming to replicate the plans for the Shalloak Road site in a 50-home development on an undisclosed site elsewhere in the district, if the council grants the proposals.

He said: “This is an experiment to see how serious the council is about taking green credentials forward.

“If we can make this work here, I will focus on rolling this out nationally and we have more than 250 homes in the pipeline.

"It’s almost like an iPod moment because we could break new ground with this site. Every new development should be like this.”

The Noels fear there could be opposition from “nimbys” and those who believe its design will not be in-keeping with the rest of the area.

They have recently completed the pre-application process for the site and expect to submit plans to the council by the end of June.

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