Sustainable developer ZeroC, in partnership with the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), is building 77 low carbon homes on RDA-owned land at Osprey Quay.
The project is the latest step in the RDA’s £40 million regeneration of the former Royal Navy Air Station where it hopes to create 1,400 jobs by 2016, leaving a lasting economic legacy. The RDA bought the site in 2000 and it was subsequently selected as the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sailing events.
The ZeroC scheme will include 77 mainly family homes, new streets and a public square. Nineteen of the units will be high quality affordable houses for local people, varying in size from two to four bedrooms. It is being built on the north side of Victory Road.
The RDA has set aside up to £500,000 from the sale of the site to invest in improved recreational facilities, the first of which will be a £200,000 replacement skate park. Work on that will start in the New Year.
Alison Hatcher, head of regeneration for the South West RDA in Dorset, said: “This is the latest step in the regeneration of Osprey Quay and we’re delighted that ZeroC is on site. This project is part of our aspiration to create a wide range of activity at Osprey Quay while promoting the development of a low carbon economy.”
All of the homes are being built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will reduce carbon emissions by more than half compared with conventional new build properties.
Kim Slowe, managing director of Dorchester-based Zero C, and a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who was based at Portland, said: “This is a very exciting project for ZeroC and we look forward to creating a vibrant, contemporary scheme that will set a benchmark for sustainable development and help meet local housing needs on Portland.”
Mr Slowe said that because the 1.95 hectare site (almost five acres) is compact and on a slope, it will be necessary for the construction site to encroach onto part of the neighbouring playing field during the building work, but that disruption would be kept to a minimum ensuring part of the playing field is kept open for public use throughout.
On the scheme’s completion in December 2011 there are plans to use some the RDA’s £500,000 to upgrade the playing field to a high standard and retain it as a permanent sports field and open space.
Other proposals include new seating and play facilities at Victoria Gardens and improvements to Osprey Quay Leisure Centre.
The houses have been designed by the award winning contemporary architects HTA and are being built by contractor Acheson, the Dorset-based construction company.
They will include wood pellet boilers, rainwater harvesting systems, solar water heating, and solar panels to generate electricity. Residents will also be able to join an electric car club to reduce emissions even further.
Elsewhere, work continues apace at Osprey Quay:
• A new five-storey £4 million training centre for the Royal Yachting Association is nearing completion. This is the first part of a proposed £30 million leisure and tourism development near Portland Castle known as Castle Court.
• Earlier this year saw the completion of the first phase of the £24 million 560-berth Portland Marina by marina developers and operators Dean & Reddyhoff. The project includes a new pub and restaurant called The Boat that Rocks, which opened in July, a range of engineering units and offices aimed at marine businesses, most of which have already been let, plus state-of-the-art facilities for berth holders and visiting boat owners.
• The RDA is funding work to prepare the 10-acre former Mere Tank Farm site for future development. The area at the entrance to Portland is being levelled and essential services like water, draining and electricity being installed. It will be used to help host the 2012 Games and afterwards be available for business use.
• Work is well underway on a new link road and cycleway between the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and the central roundabout on Portland Beach. It is on schedule to be completed next March.
• The RDA is working with a private developer on plans to build 17 small business units at Osprey Quay, with a planning application expected in the next few months.
Alison Hatcher said: “The RDA’s investment has unlocked the regeneration potential of Osprey Quay and despite the recession we are seeing tens of millions of pounds being invested, creating quality jobs and attracting new businesses.”
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