Housing for St George Park?
The Chalks Road car park next to St George Park could be home to the UK’s first development using a new modular housing solution.
An online petition has been started "We the undersigned do not think the St George Park carpark (Chalks Rd ) is a suitable place to build 11 Flats (Zedpods)".
You can sign the petition at: https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=86
A consultation is being launched by a developer for 11 ZEDPods to be built above the car park – allowing the car park below to remain in public use.
ZEDPods are rapid build, modular low energy homes that can be built above existing urban spaces – such as car parks. According to an FAQ document from the developer, the proposed development features nine one-bed and two two-bed apartments and will offer 100% affordable rents.
It will provide accommodation to single people under 35 years old who are in need of affordable housing. This will include keyworkers, working people on incomes below local average earnings, and young people who are taking their first steps into independent living.
The proposed development is being led by a partnership between Bristol Housing Festival, ZedPods, YMCA, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, Bristol City Council and Homes England.
The intention is that the scheme will be operated by a registered housing provider, however it is not known whether one has been approached yet.
The scheme is set to be the first time that a local authority in the UK has used ZEDPods as a potential part of its solution for its housing crisis. The developer says that it is “…looking to build a partnership that addresses both the physical innovation (new types of home and innovative land use), but also innovation in how we build and enable local community.”
The rent will be set at social rent levels. Each apartment meets government guidelines on the minimum acceptable area of living space, and each will include a private outdoor space.
The car park will remain in-use and free-to-use under an unusual agreement in which the ‘air rights’ above the car park are leased by the council to the developer for a period of 30 years.
Residents of the development will not be allowed to use the car park to ensure that park users and shoppers can still use it. The developer has stated that an enforcement regime or upgrade to the car park will be required to make this work.
The developer says that no parking bays will be lost – although the layout may need to be changed slightly. Electric car charging points will be installed and they are exploring the option of a car club being based there.
The homes are built to be taken down, moved and reassembled at another site if required, meaning that they could be reused once the lease has expired.
“The site at St George has been selected due to its great access to the Church Road retail area and close proximity to the local supermarket and amenities,” says the developer’s FAQ document.
“When combined with the good access to local public transport networks, nearby access to a train station and the car-free access to the centre of Bristol, the site is ideal for an affordable ZEDPods community.”
“The ambition of the Housing Festival is to ensure we create powerful prototypes that show different solutions to tackling the housing crisis. Whilst this is a small expression in itself, if successful we create a replicable model in Bristol and for other cities.
“We believe the positive story about a high-quality solution to address the housing crisis in the city, and the benefits of this housing model for Bristol and other cities, has the potential will bring positive attention to the area and reflect well on the wider community.
As the March 2019 issue of the St George & Redfield Voice went to print, a consultation event is set to take place at the Beehive Centre on 1 March, 3.00pm – 8.00pm.
Under the council’s new planning regime, the development has already been scrutinised at pre-application stage by the local community planning group. They put forward a number of recommendations to the developer; one change that has already been added to the plans is to employ a local artist to decorate the gable end walls to discourage vandalism.
Commenting on the FAQ document, Councillor Asher Craig said: “I fell in love with ZEDPods when I visited the Bristol Housing Festival last year.”
“I think that they are a very cost effective and affordable housing solution. It seems to have been positively received by the St George Community Planning Group – although they have raised some issues.
“The great thing is that it can be built quickly; instant, ultra-low energy efficient housing, built in the air on the edge of the park – I am confident that most people will also like what has been put forward”
“It’s an exciting development but it is important that local residents get to know how it’s going to work. There are still lots of questions to be asked / answered.”
The FAQ document lists a number of benefits for the local community, including:
• Innovation to rethink existing land use in central locations
• Well-designed, high-quality zero carbon and sustainable housing
• A genuine mixed community – housing with truly affordable rent levels, with the ambition to develop a housing solution for people unable to access decent housing in the existing market (under 35 year olds in housing need)
• A partnership approach to address housing needs and support / community need
• Electric car charging points and a car club car which will be available for users of the car park and the wider community
• The presence of people living in housing above the car park potentially offers improved safety and security in the immediate area, because the additional overlooking / surveillance will discourage any anti-social behaviour in the car park
What are ZedPods?
A ZEDPod is a new concept in high-quality, rapid build, modular low energy homes that can use air rights above existing land within city centres – such as car parks. The homes have been optimised for energy efficiency and the lowest possible running costs, with solar panels to generate renewable electricity in the day, quiet running heat pumps for low energy heating, controlled ventilation which recovers usable heat from inside the building whilst bringing in fresh air, triple glazing,
LED lighting and energy efficient appliances.
Many people may recognise them from the Bristol Housing Festival, when they were on display at the harbourside. They are the brainchild of well-known architect Bill Dunster and his company ZEDfactory, which specialises in designing homes that are low-carbon to build and run.
The developers have highlighted the following design and construction features:
• The Cross Laminated Timber construction and internal surfaces are low embodied carbon and highly durable. They designed to be easy to wipe down and clean, and re-coat if necessary, and are unlikely to suffer impact damage.
• The cladding is non-combustible, cementitious with baked on paint finish, a large colour range is possible with an anticipated life of 50 years.
• The under croft of the pods have been designed without any enclosed spaces and full lines of visibility from all angles. This will discourage anti-social behaviour.
For more information please see zedpods.com