Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey (AH 97)

  We would like to draw your attention to a recent local council development in Mole Valley, Overlord Court, recently nominated for Sustainable Development of the Year Award. Mole Valley District Council Head of Housing Operations, Glynis Gatenby said: "The properties are designed to fulfil the aspirations that Mole Valley District Council has to work in partnership with the private sector; to provide affordable housing for our tenants; to make the most of energy efficiencies and to set our standards for future home build." Overlord Court has 17 one-bedroomed flats and one two-bedroomed detached bungalow, complemented by five family houses, and provides sustainable features that benefit the residents, such as economy lighting, recycling the rainwater, capturing the sun's heat and using environmentally friendly materials in the construction. Material arising from demolition was recycled and permeable pavements and roads were incorporated allowing surface drain water to drain directly through the ground into the subsoil.

  South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) is proposing that 2,360 new dwellings a year will be built in Surrey. The Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG 9) is committed to meet 10% of UK's electricity generation from renewable sources by 2010. By 2026 at least 16% of the South East's electricity generation will be provided through renewable sources.

  We think that it is wholly possible to achieve a far greater positive impact on the environment in a shorter time, as the inspiring example of Overlord Court shows. Affordable housing can be built in a relatively short time-scale that is truly sustainable and we urge the Select Committee to review their commitment to affordable housing and sustainable communities and introduce tougher legislation for new build that promotes far greater use of renewable energy sources. It is an extraordinary opportunity to introduce measures that truly have an effect, mitigate the adverse climate change resulting from our dependence on fossil fuel and set an example, locally, nationally and internationally, of what may be achieved through new technology and vision.

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