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Landmark eco housing scheme approved for Brighton seafront

One of Britain’s biggest zero carbon schemes, PortZED, has been given planning permission by Brighton councillors.

PortZED includes six blocks up to five storeys high, containing 52 flats, a visitor centre, shops, offices and a café as well as parking for 66 cars and 118 bikes.

The mixed-use project is the gateway development to Shoreham Harbour, the growing port serving Brighton and the wider Sussex area.

The 170-acre port, which includes a three-mile waterfront, is the biggest brownfield site in the south of England and regarded by some as Brighton’s Docklands.

The PortZED project’s sustainable approach – it is a code 6 development – means no energy bills at a time of growing concern about rising prices and fuel poverty.

The ZED element of the name is short for zero energy development and echoes the name of the BedZED scheme in London.

It also shares the same architect, with the internationally renowned Bill Dunster aiming to take his pioneering ideas to the next level.

For the more starry-eyed, the project faces Millionaires Row, the seafront home to celebrities Adele, Fatboy Slim, Zoe Ball, Nick Berry and Heather Mills-McCartney.

Colin Brace, of the developer Boho Green, said: “This is an opportunity for development partners to obtain a foothold in one of the biggest projects in the south of England.

“The area is zoned for tall buildings and 400 homes as well as niche retail and top grade office space.

“Shoreham Port is hugely ambitious and we’re ambitious too with the most sustainable homes in Brighton – a place with a reputation for its green lifestyle.

“It’s a fantastic location and a great investment opportunity which we’re proud to be taking forward.

“This landmark project will form the western gateway to an innovative set of buildings marking the entrance to Brighton and complementing planned large-scale development at the eastern entrance by Brighton Marina.”

The homes are not just zero carbon. They are expected to generate a surplus for ten months of the year – a bonus not just in terms of energy bills but also ultimately in the properties’ value.

The design has already won plaudits from the likes of the government’s design watchdog CABE which praised the scheme’s sustainable credentials.

CABE commented: “The project is one of the best proposals for sustainable living that we have seen at design review and we wish this exemplary project well.

“We look forward to ‘Code for sustainable homes – level 6’ projects becoming common practice.”

The following points highlight the significance of the PortZED scheme:

PortZED is a development which comprises a zero emission and zero carbon community of buildings.

It is a mixed use residential and commercial development facing South West over Shoreham Port in the City of Brighton and Hove.  It comprises 52 residential apartments built over shops, offices and support facilities linked by a recreational landscaped deck and arranged as a terrace of six lozenge shaped building separated by voids providing views across the Port and to the see beyond.

PortZED has been designed to the highest sustainability standards by leading architects ZEDFactory and Alan Phillips Architects, and exceeds level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and will be the first truly zero carbon development in this country

The buildings are connected by a new pedestrian deck promenade at Kingsway level providing commercial units, outside space and play areas, a Visitors Centre and Green Business Hub

Has the capability of generating its total energy requirements on site through micro generation technologies which have been designed into the scheme including:
 ground and air source heat pumps
 photovoltaics
 solar thermal

The buildings are 3.5 storeys high at either end of the site rising to 5.5 storeys in the centre.  There is a further 1.5 storeys of car parking at lower ground floor beneath Kingsway ground level, accessed via Basin Road North with additional B1 space at this level to integrate with the Port.

A fairly high density development such as PortZED is particularly appropriate for an area in need of regeneration as large mixed use developments have the ability to significantly improve the physical, social and economic character of a place.

Accommodation schedule:

Private housing (60%)
1 bed apartments x 9
2 bed apartments x 19
3 bed apartments x 4
Total: 32

Affordable housing (40%)
1 bed apartments x 5
2 bed apartments x 9
3 bed apartments x 6
Total: 20

A1 retail units 1,819.6m2
A3 restaurant / café 239m2
B1 office space to include a visitor centre and green business hub 333.6m2
D1 medical facility 151m2

B1 cycle workshop/office space at Basin Road North level 418m2

8 car parking spaces accessed from Kingsway including 1 disabled space

Undercroft parking with access from Basin Road North within the port providing a total of 58 car park spaces:
Resident parking spaces x 43
Disabled parking spaces x 15

118 Cycle Spaces
Cycle parking will be provided at Kingsway level with a total of 36 outdoor visitor cycle spaces and a further 82 indoor secure covered spaces

Will create 66 jobs directly within the development itself and will stimulate further employment in the wider community through supporting start-up businesses within the Green Business Hub

Visitors Centre & Green Business Hub
Information point for all residents and visitors
Bike and car hire
Education and lecture facilities
Business facilities and meeting point

Has been awarded Demonstration Project funding by Communities and Local Government
Has been successful in bidding for Technology Strategy Board funding and is now part of a research programme into ‘Designing for Future Climate Change – Adapting Buildings’

Chris Todd of Friends of the Earth stated “It is unusual that BHFOE enthusiastically supports new development, but in this case, the group believes that the developers have put a lot of thought and research into their proposals… This is rare and something that BHFOE strongly applauds. BHFOE believes that this exemplar development should be granted planning permission and trusts that it will receive strong backing from the City Council.”