Local residents have started to move into 18 new, first of a kind, Passivhaus eco-homes in the village of Christow, in Dartmoor National Park.
The Stafford Close project has been led by the Christow Community Land Trust (CCLT), a voluntary collection of villagers, in partnership with local affordable housing provider, Teign Housing, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Teignbridge District Council. The eco-homes are the first Passivhaus homes to be built in a National Park anywhere in the world, 14 of which have been let as affordable housing to local people.
The Passivhaus standard of build means that energy bills will be as low as £50 a year for residents with clean, fresh air constantly circulating around their homes. Although they are relatively common in parts of Northern Europe, Passivhauses are still relatively new to the UK and in particular, making them available for affordable housing.
Christow CLT Chair Pamela Woods said: "We wanted young to be able to stay in their community, we wanted those who become infirm or too elderly to be able to manage in their current homes to stay here too. There is a desperate need for affordable housing in rural areas and we decided to do something about it. We've had massive support from the village and I only wish that this kind of development was still possible for other communities, but government rules have changed and we are fortunate to have been able to fulfil our aims in Christow."
Stephen Purser, Teign Housing’s Chair of the Board said: “This development has so many positives. It provides affordable housing to local people, tackles issues of fuel poverty faced by many living in rural locations and the project has been driven by the local community based on their needs. It has been an exciting project to be part of and we hope that the homes will benefit the village for many years to come.”
The land was donated for £1 by Teignbridge District Council. Dartmoor National Park Authority supported the CLT through the planning process and this has become a landmark development and recently featured on BBC1's Countryfile programme as a model of its kind.
Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge’s Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said: "Teignbridge is proud to have been part of this pioneering development. Helping local people live in their own homes which they can afford is a priority for Teignbridge.
"This groundbreaking Passivhaus development led by Christow CLT does exactly that. Not only is this project driven by the local community to fulfil their needs, it provides affordable housing and affordable energy."
James McInnes, Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority’s planning committee, said: “DNPA has been delighted to be involved in such a positive community led project. DNPA planners have been on the same page as Teign Housing; aiming to create a high quality scheme that demonstrates what can be achieved from truly affordable housing, and is a real asset to the local community and to Dartmoor”