Open space focus for Peterborough homes

Hedgerow gardens, allotments and play spaces will combine with private gardens for every house to provide a variety of open spaces in the second community to be built to the Government's highest green standards for homes.

The 344-home development in Peterborough has been planned as part of a Carbon Challenge scheme, which is delivered by English Partnerships on behalf of Communities & Local Government.

Consortium pPod was last week selected as the preferred developer for the 7ha site, which must meet the Government's highest standard, Level 6, in its Code for Sustainable Homes.

Landscape architecture firm Barnes Walker is part of the consortium, together with Morris Homes, Gentoo Homes and Browne Smith Baker Architects.

The Barnes Walker design concept includes 10 surburban gardens such as a demonstration coppice, a forest garden, a walled garden and a water park.

Public-realm art, wildlife habitats and play spaces also make up the plan, which sets out that all houses will have front and back gardens, and apartments will have balconies and roof terraces.

Barnes Walker director Colin Barnes said the aim was to keep hard surfaces to a minimum.

"There are at least two to three trees per house on site and there is a lot of pedestrian priority and cycle paths," Barnes explained.

"The walks that connect the site include orchard walks and raspberry walks, and we have a methane-generating plant using waste food.

"One of the by-products of that is heat, which is being discharged down pipes that run down a 250m gabion wall. We've got fruit and vegetable production as a continuous strip down this heated ground," he said.

Wetland swales and more formal water courses will be created as part of a sustainable urban drainage system on the site, on which work is expected to start in late 2009, following a planning application early in the year.

The first Carbon Challenge site to be selected, Grade II-listed Hanham Hall, near Bristol, is currently the subject of community consultation, and work is expected to start in 2009.

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