Builders to bid for eco-village pilot

House builders are set to bid for the right to build the first of five prototype eco-villages ahead of Gordon Brown’s plans for five zero-carbon towns.

Contractors have been given a pre-qualification questionnaire by English Partnerships to build 150 homes in Hanham Hall, Bristol, on a 6.1 hectare former hospital site deemed ripe for redevelopment.

The questionnaire is the first step in the selection process to appoint a de-veloper for the village. It is designed to establish whether respondents are able to produce low-cost, high quality zero-carbon emission homes.

About six organisations will be shortlisted and invited to submit more detailed proposals in response to a design brief. The results of the project will be fed into the other four villages’ development, details of which are as yet unclear.

Jayne Lomas, project manager at English Partnerships, says: “This brings zero-carbon homes a step closer to reality and is a vital development in the fight against climate change.

“We need to start now. The government’s deadline for all new-builds to be zero-carbon from 2016 is less than a de-cade away. Nobody should underestimate the challenge of achieving zerocarbon homes on a large scale.”

Housing minister Yvette Cooper says: “This is our chance to develop technologies for zero-carbon homes and eco-towns. The purpose of this challenge is to show that the new technologies work and can be used in an affordable way. It’s no good if only the rich can afford to be zero-carbon.”