Scheme Summary

The scheme comprises 15 two and three bedroom houses for rent. Gloucestershire Housing Association developed the scheme in partnership with Tewkesbury District Council. Completed 2000.

Scheme Details

Tewkesbury District Council ran a competition seeking a development proposal that could make an outstanding architectural statement to mark the start of the 21st Century. The aim was for the development to feel special to residents and the community.

GHA and Cater Day Architects were awarded the contract on the basis of their competition submission. The scheme fronts onto a highway with private and parking space hidden from view, centred around a tree in a piazza style communal area. It reflects a concept demonstrated at Poundbury in Dorset. The scheme was developed on land made available from a S106 Agreement.

Environmental Features

A key objective is the provision of affordable warmth. To achieve this energy efficiency measures have been incorporated into the design. Of equal importance is the wider environmental impact of the development. Materials from sustainable sources and with low environmental impact have been incorporated wherever possible. The houses are constructed using timber frames, incorporating cellulose insulation (recycled newspaper). This assists in achieving SAP values of 100.

The sun's potential is maximised through the siting of the buildings. A 'sunspace' acts as a passive solar collector to assist with heating the houses. Solar water panels have been incorporated into the roof to supplement water heating. It is expected that they will reduce water heating by up to 50%. Passivent provides a non-mechanical means of ventilation that draws warm air through the building, reducing the risk of condensation.

Simple, but effective, water conservation measures are included through spray taps, 6 litre flush WCs and the installation of electric showers. These will reduce water consumption and residents' bills.

The houses are heated by gas fired central heating with a small sized boiler to ensure lower running costs for residents. Low energy light fittings will further reduce energy use. In the halls and landings lighting is noise and movement sensitive and automatically switches on and off in response to people entering and leaving the areas.

The houses look to the future and incorporate lifetime home features that ensure flexibility of accommodation, adaptability and accessibility to meet the changing needs of families over their lifetimes.

Social Issues

In addition to building more sustainable homes, steps have been taken to build a more sustainable community.

GHA have worked closely with the local authority when letting the homes. Interested people were nominated from the local authority list. A series of evening meetings were set up with prospective residents to explain the concepts and 'innovative' features of the development, and to agree a 'mutual aid compact'. This is a set of rules that all residents agree to abide by. It's important to note that the rules were devised by the residents for the residents. An added input allowed the successful nominees to choose colour combinations for kitchen units and worktops, wall and floor tiles and paint. This gave residents a greater feeling of ownership and their choices developed unit individuality.


The total scheme cost was just over 1.5 million, with each unit costing 100,000 to build. The additional environmental specification, including solar panels, passive ventilation, sun spaces, timber frame, stainless steel roofing and rainwater goods, and lighting, cost 25,000 per unit. The scheme was part funded by Social Housing Grant, 670,000, with the remainder being financed by GHA.

Developer's Comments

The mutual aid compact and home allocation process has been very successful. The residents met each other long before the site was completed. Friendships had already blossomed before anyone moved into the houses. In fact, the whole idea has been so successful for GHA that it is being employed on other sites too. The association is now working with residents to collect information on gas, electric and water running costs, in order that we can effectively monitor the cost of living in the Millennium Homes. Comparisons will be made with other standard new developments to assist with the continual improvement of the GHA's homes.

Contact: Richard Efford - Development ,
Rosemary Prince - Mutual Aid Compact
Gloucestershire Housing Association,
2 St. Michael's Court,
Brunswick Road,
Gloucester GL1 1JB
Tel: 01452 529255
Fax: 01452 310520
E-mail: or