The Grade II-listed hall houses a café, crèche, gym and small business units. James Lord, parter at HTA, which worked on the landscape design, believes the proposal to have the hall as a community asset, rather than as additional housing units, was one of the reasons for Barratt’s competition proposal being successful.
The development seems very popular, says Lord, with a stable community. The estate is run by a Community Interest Company, so the residents have a say in this. The homes are very warm in winter and the timber provides solar shading, which protects them from over-heating in the summer, he says. There are lean-to greenhouses, allotments, wildflower meadows, and an orchard, all of which were added with the housing. For flood protection, there is a pond and swale. “The final development was more or less identical to the competition submission,” says Lord.
In the words of Barratt Homes: “Hanham Hall… is expected to be used as a roadmap within the housebuilding industry for future sustainable, energy efficient living.” There has been progress in the UK (with Exeter leading the way) and elsewhere with Passivhaus – https://smartercommunities.media/passivhaus-at-a-tipping-point/ – but it remains a long way from being mainstream. Hanham Hall could still constitute a roadmap but at present it remains largely an anomaly, which is bad news for the UK’s climate change efforts.