Contracts have been exchanged on Surrey and Sussex-based housing provider Raven Housing Trust’s latest net zero carbon development.
The new Lewes Low Cost Housing homes will be built on the site of the former Pells Church of England School, which closed in 2017, and will provide one, two, and three-bedroom homes for affordable rent and shared ownership.
Raven has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and was recently awarded sustainability funding as part of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave 1.
As well as being Raven’s second completely net zero carbon development, the 32-home site in Lewes will be their first to be built using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), a construction technique focussing on building more high-quality homes, faster.
Raven has chosen to partner with modular home developer Boutique Modern, who are on a similar sustainability mission, with this new development being a significant step. The homes will be factory produced; they will then arrive on site in large box form, where they will be craned into position and the final external insulation and finishes will be applied. This will significantly reduce construction waste and the number of deliveries to site. The factory itself is located within the Lewes district, only ten miles from the site.
A B-Corp organisation, meaning they have been assessed and verified as upholding extremely high social, environmental and governance standards, Boutique Modern’s ambition is to address the affordable housing crisis and deliver sustainable social housing by working with housing associations and local authorities using modular technology.
Raven’s Stephen Clements, assistant director – development, commented: “We’re thrilled to have exchanged contracts on the Pells development in Lewes. The site contributes further to our net zero ambitions, and will provide a good number of affordable, modern homes in a time when a secure home is more important than ever.”
“It’s also very exciting to be developing the site using modular, modern methods of construction, impacting less on the local community during the build, and providing affordable, warm homes with lower bills for customers.”
Lucas Shone, Projects Director at Boutique Modern said: “We’re delighted to be working with Raven on what we hope will be the first of many affordable net-zero developments. Raven is a great project partner and have a clear track record of delivering quality schemes; they share our values and commitment to environmental sustainability and supporting local economy.
We’re excited to get going on what promises to be a fantastic example of modern construction”
Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This is a high-quality development providing much-needed affordable housing for local communities within the National Park.”
“The development’s environmental credentials are significant and these zero-carbon homes dovetail with our priorities of nature recovery and climate action, as well as providing much cheaper energy bills to residents.”
The new homes are due to be completed by spring 2024, and will be built using Homes England funding, as well as Raven’s own funds in addition to a £630,000 grant provided by South Downs National Park Authority.