Richmond's First Passivhaus Needs Two Minutes of Your Time to Support its Planning Application

Log your support here;jsessionid=DB2834EC143E47E783004A79A460BB6F?action=CreateApplicationComment&applicationType=PLANNING&appNumber=11/2588/FUL

bere:architects have submitted an application to London Borough of Richmond for a new build, ultra low-energy, ecological Passivhaus in London's greenest borough!

The intention is to carefully create a refined, gentle, low energy, 3 bedroom house on this end-of-terrace site on Elm Grove Road. The new house will be one of only a handful in London to achieve the advanced Passivhaus certification (follow this link to see London's first and will demonstrate compliance with the government’s proposed low energy, 2016 Zero Carbon definition.

The house will create significantly more planting than on the current site and incorporate green roofs with native planting for biodiversity. Renewables will also be incorporated for water harvesting, recycling and water heating. All these requirements, including the need for high levels of insulation, avoidance of cold-bridging, and draught-free triple-glazing with heavily insulated frames, require a careful, contemporary approach to architectural design using the fabric-first energy saving principles of the Passivhaus methodology.

This project is the first Certified Passivhaus presented to Richmond’s planning department and we hope that this demonstration house will herald a new, green era in which the residents of Richmond, in both new and older properties alike, can live in relative harmony with nature.

In a written statement, the Richmond Council Urban Design and Conservation Team stated that:

"The current proposal for a low energy house appears to provide a positive book-end to the street and interesting use of materials, subject to further details.  The green element and emphasis on planting at the frontage are positive aspects"

The planning application is currently out to public consultation (anyone in Richmond or further afield can comment) and we are appealing to all those with an interest in high quality sustainable buildings to log their support of this scheme on Richmond's website using this link urgently, before September 6th.

This is particularly important because in spite of support from the Urban Design and Conservation Team, the application is on a knife-edge because a senior policy officer has written in contrast to the team officers’ advice, stating an in-principle concern with the fact that the design “does not incorporate or reflect traditional architectural features”.  We love well-designed traditional buildings and have no objection to traditional architecture in principle, but if a contemporary design is detailed and built with the same loving care as a traditional building, is it right to condemn proven ultra low-energy, ecologically advanced, passivhaus buildings if they don’t look traditional?  Consultation closes 6th of September.

The full Design and Access Statement is attached to the bottom of this blog, we thank you for your support.



Comments 5

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This design will be a positive contribution to the street and environment. We need more designs of this quality that take energy reduction seriously. I support this planning application and all it is attempting to achieve.
Many thanks for your comment and many thanks for also using the link and commenting on the Richmond Council planning website
Councils and builders should be looking at constructing properties as 'greenly' as possible in this day and age. We should all be looking at our carbon footprint and what we can to do to reduce it. Councils and government should be encouraging and enabling this.
We couldn't agree more. The recently published Draft National Planning Policy framework has a presumption in favour of sustainable development at the heart of the Policy. The Draft Policy mentions in clause118: "Planning policies and decisions should not attempt to impose architectural styles or particular tastes and they should not stifle innovation, originality or initiative through unsubstantiated requirements to conform to certain development forms or styles." And in clause151: "Local planning authorities should not refuse planning permission for well-designed buildings or infrastructure which promote high levels of sustainability because of concerns about incompatibility with an existing townscape unless the concern relates to a designated heritage asset and the impact would cause material harm to the asset or its setting, and this harm is not outweighed by the proposal’s wider social, economic and environmental benefits." We realise that these are draft proposals and not yet law but the strength and tone of the sentiments expressed suggest a clear intent on the part of the government that these principles are passed into law.
This will be a great beginning to many more Passivhaus designs to be build in and around London. The time is right, now!