All too often property developments are designed and created with a singular need or requirement in mind. When that's the case, be it commercial or residential, the project is often flawed. The reason? Sustainability.
'Sustainability' is something of a buzzword at the moment, certainly. But it's not just something to crowbar into a concept just to tick a box. And nor is it just used to suggest the idea of something being environmentally friendly (although that's often a part). It's bigger than that.
A sustainable development is, as its name indicates, a complex of buildings that's designed, planned and built to be used, to be 'sustained', over a period of time. It's future proof. Whether it's building materials, infrastructure or energy sources, the development must meet the needs of the client/consumer in the present without compromising the ability of future users being able to meet their needs too. At its core, it's just smart planning.
With that in mind, we cast our eye over some of the south coast's sustainable developments and present you with some that really stand out to us:
Sustainability is at the very forefront of our first pick. Why? Well, the ambitious developers at Welborne are essentially building an entire community, an entire 'village', from scratch. We use inverted commas for 'village' because the scale is more of a small town.
It will, eventually, be home to thousands of homes, four schools, 20 nurseries, 13 playgrounds, 27 acres of sporting facilities, over 100,000 sq ft of retail space, with more than a million sq. ft. of business space and 200+ hectares of parks and woodland.
Mark Thistlethwayte is the owner of the land. He explains the future-proofing of the site like this: “We’re allowing for drones and for driverless cars. We’ve brought in green energy. We’ve built a solar park that is live now and can power between 13,000 and 16,000 houses, and we’re getting rid of pylons. We’re using heat pumps, creating cycle routes and encouraging the consumption of local produce.”
Priddy's Hard has long been useful to the British Navy. Now, it's a major waterfront heritage area, with its beautiful views across Portsmouth Harbour. Development plans that are going ahead will see many of the remaining heritage buildings restored, with plenty of new building going up too.
Expect ecologically-sound hotel/conferencing facilities, cafes, bars, restaurants, offices, craft workshops, educational facilities, community space and 100 new build homes.
Water taxi links will be established and maintained, which should see an increase in the tourism potential of the site and the wider area.
With almost half a million square feet of R&D, research and lab space already to its name, it's fair to say that Havant's Langstone Park is already fairly well established. The 40-acre site isn't resting on its laurels, though. It has major development plans.
A brand new phase of sustainability-led development is underway. The decision was made to undergo hefty regeneration in 2019, when it the landlords realised that occupancy and dropped to just 50%.
New workspace will be created, with existing space altered so that all are highly energy-efficient buildings that capable of operating as net zero carbon.
From an environmental point of view, Langstone will introduce improved LED lighting, commit to zero waste to landfill, set up green groups and community collaborations, begin transparent eco reporting and sign 100% renewable energy contracts.
Our fourth and final pick here is a nice combination of both residential and commercial development down in Brighton, the Circus Street project.
The new area will include 142 affordable and private homes - all of which are set to be energy efficient and 'green'. There will also be 450 student accommodation rooms, over 30,000 sq. ft of office space and a whole host of food, drink and retail units.
Costing some £130 million, the development is set to be extremely environmentally sustainable and 'built to enhance the wellbeing of those inside' with two large, green urban squares at the centre of the plans. There's set to be a focus on travelling around the site by bike and foot, green energy sources, an allotment and a focus on 'a more communal, responsible, neighbourly living among tenants.'