The proposals provide a unique opportunity to transform the Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre into an exemplar development incorporating a new Science and Innovation Park, community hub offering a wealth of facilities and innovative new homes, all designed based on Garden Village principles.
The redevelopment of the site on this scale provides the opportunity to deliver on all aspects of sustainability for the benefit of the environment, wildlife and the people living and working in this new community.
The information below provides a taster of the commitments being made, with further design, consultation, feasibility and planning work being required. Therefore, this page will evolve to keep everyone appraised and showcase the projects being designed and delivered.
Wildlife needs a home within the new community, from the large areas of greenspace and water, to the homes themselves through features such as integrated wildlife boxes and green walls.
There will be an abundance of space for nature within the project to meet the planning obligations at a minimum, however, the development will go beyond by demonstrating a live biodiversity net gain exemplar, which will not only provide space for wildlife but also plenty of opportunities for people to interact with nature to better understand nature's role in our everyday lives. For example, supporting the encouragement of pollinators such as bees directly into people’s garden will help provide a sound basis for environmental education programmes and initiatives. Native planting mixes will be used to ensure the new soft landscaping designs reflect the local landscape, weaving greenery into all spaces and buildings. Nature is also important in maintaining healthy communities, with clear benefits of a biodiverse environment improving peoples mental and physical health. The green and blue spaces delivered will result in over 70 ha of new spaces being created for people and wildlife.
A key element of the transport strategy for this new community to reduce transport impacts and a robust approach to sustainable travel is being developed and will be delivered. The huge levels of investment proposed for new facilities, greenspaces, sports and safe off-road routes will promote walking and cycling. This also includes designing workplaces and homes with cycle storage in mind and ensuring users are able to change and shower before they start work.
These small measures can make the more sustainable travel choice that bit easier to make, but this will be further strengthened by the promotion of cycling/scooter initiatives to encourage clubs and groups to form to further promote such activities to all ages at the workplace, schools and in the home.
New technologies will be embraced to provide facilities for charging of electric bikes/scooters, but other initiatives such as cycle hire and servicing schemes will be delivered.
We do not pretend to think that the car and other vehicles will not play a part in the way people travel in the future, but this could change radically over the life of the project with the roll out of more pure electric vehicles, autonomous technologies and the predicted reduction in private car ownership moving to car clubs and other arrangements not yet fully known. The team will be open to the evolution of these initiatives and decide locally in consultation with others whether they will be appropriate for the garden village.
We are however committing to electric vehicle charging in every home as well as communal charging facilities in commercial and community areas, to embrace and maximise the promotion of low carbon transport.
The redevelopment of the site will generate funding for local public transport networks to strengthen existing services. We recognise on-demand transport solutions are growing in popularity, helping people to demand a service to a specific destination by setting up ride sharing through apps.
This will help get people to work and to and from the rail network for example. Public transport will be promoted in all its forms to help people connect to such services.
Through the planning process and discussions with key stakeholders, a public transport strategy will be produced to agree targets and direct investment as a result of the project to the most appropriate areas to support public transport initiatives which currently exist and those that will be established such as an on-demand service. This activity will be future proofed to respond to community attitudes, which is essential in designing attractive public transport services.
Even with the most rigorous energy efficient measures, energy is still required to power and heat homes. The project will benefit from green energy from the national grid as well as the deployment of onsite renewable and low carbon energy generators, varying from photo voltaic panels to heat pumps.
A high level energy strategy has been produced which will continue to advance and evolve. This outlines how this ambition will be fulfilled and to demonstrate the generation of green energy on site utilising roof spaces, for example to heat water and produce electricity.
The feasibility of on-site energy generation from sustainable means is also being investigated. This high level vision will need to go through all the technical, planning and viability tests to ensure the energy project proposed reflects the local requirements and fits with our overall approach to the redevelopment of this site.
We recognise the UK Government’s announcement in November 2020 to bring forward the electrification of new developments and roll out electric vehicles, pushing for the removal of fossil fuels from homes and vehicles by 2030. Watch this space for more information on the energy projects associated with this project.
Watch this space for more information on the energy projects associated with this project.
The move to a net zero carbon development is at the centre of the energy strategy for this development. Much more detailed work will emerge through the planning application process, but the need for energy will be reduced to the lowest possible demand across all the homes and commercial spaces.
The most efficient way to achieve this and expanding on current Building Regulations is to focus on a ‘fabric first’ approach ensuring the most suitable products and materials are used within the buildings to keep energy demand to a minimum which in turn will save money for the building users in home and workplaces.
The starting point is the design and delivery of the new buildings, leading to another important aspect in the use of the building whether it is a new home or research lab. Therefore, we will seek to involve people in monitoring of energy use to see how influencing energy efficient behaviour further helps the environment in these new facilities. For commercial buildings, the BREEAM standard that is sought will demonstrate the strong commitment to energy efficiency and wider sustainability measures.
The nature of the things we do in everyday life generates waste in some form whether this is at home or in the workplace. The design of the garden village will play a big role on how easy it is for people to reduce the amount of waste produced or recycle the waste to create other products or utilise it to produce energy locally.
Close working is required with the Local Authority in the development and delivery of a waste management strategy. While the Council delivers new and improved services for the local area, the project team would also be open to trial new approaches to deliver reductions in waste from education in schools, community recycling projects to major infrastructure investment to support our low carbon energy strategy.
The move to support the reduction of ‘single use’ plastics will also be addressed, both within the R&D work that is likely to be undertaken on the Science and Innovation Park, but also through the stakeholder and community engagement, we could have a significant influence on local retailers, particularly those based on site, to adopt plastic free policies.
The construction process generates waste in one form or another and there is a commitment to reduce and recycle waste in the construction process through a material management plan and adherence to the Considerate Constructors Programme.
In forming a waste reduction strategy for the project, advice would be sought from WRAP which is a leading global expert in this field.
The significant investment in new infrastructure and buildings will be wasted if the promotion of a more sustainable lifestyle is not included within this project. An individual’s behaviour at work or in the home can undermine the sustainability ambitions that we are seeking to achieve. The aim therefore is the make the most sustainable choice the easiest one to make rather than imposing restrictions. This will help the community become part of this journey to look after the environment.
Looking after our planet is essential. Existing initiatives such as the Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare will remain a vital part of the new development as will the provision of new spaces to grow fruit and vegetables and support local wildlife, helping to reduce food miles and consumer packaging. As this is a long-term project, work can be undertaken with existing and new employees on site and new residents as they move in to encourage them become part of the environmentally sustainable work through initiatives and projects to celebrate what is being delivered and to encourage others to help create local ownership of the facilities and services that are being provided to promote more sustainable behaviours.
The new Science and Innovation Park creates an important destination for companies, academic partners and wider organisations to cluster.
Together they, and Syngenta, will work to find technical solutions to key global environmental challenges such as energy efficiency, mitigation and adaption to climate change, water and resource management and food security.
A development of this scale and nature provides an opportunity to deliver a genuine attractive location to live and work, which in turn will promote the concept of travel containment, particularly in relation to the daily commute and school drop off/pick up.
The space is available to provide retail, leisure, employment and education facilities on site which will help reduce the need to travel further afield, reducing pressure on the road network at peak times. This will always be a hot topic within the project and the starting point is fully understanding the current transport constraints, seek to apply modern transport management solutions to reduce travel and demonstrate to the existing community that this garden village will not cause harm to the existing road network in terms of traffic congestion.
The commitment to provide a huge range of facilities and opportunities on site will go a long way to promoting the concept of self-sufficiency within the community for day to day life, work and play.
Through good design and the masterplan, safe and clear connections will be delivered between neighbourhoods and the new facilities, providing people with confidence to walk and cycle.
Drawing on good practice and our extensive experience, the masterplan will evolve to set out the principles and key arterial routes through the new community with concept images and illustrations.
Key decisions will be taken in the future about the directional signage, planting, lighting and path widths for example which will all impact how people move around the community on the basis of ease of use and attractiveness.
The aim is for these neighbourhoods to be as inviting and welcoming as possible to promote non-private car travel to deliver higher levels of sustainable travel. These networks provide opportunities to increase physical activity and extra space to relax outside of the home and workplace with the addition of smaller pocket parks and places to rest and reflect. This will also provide more opportunities for individuals to connect to each other to strengthen the community.
This approach also ensures the development does retain a rural feel and increases space for nature, strong green and blue links between neighbourhoods and beyond. This is achieved through hedgerows and new woodlands for example, connecting local wildlife habitats (reducing habitat fragmentation) and bringing wildlife to the community’s doorstep.
On a development of this scale the design of every aspect is crucial to the delivery of environmental sustainability across the development. The size and nature of a building will have a direct impact on how it can be built and used.
The use of certain materials will prohibit certain design approaches and lead to a greater or lesser score against sustainability credentials. There is a commitment to test the feasibility of modern methods of construction to reduce the carbon footprint of the development both in terms of the distance’s materials travel to site and the way the building can be used.
It is important to balance comfortable and sustainable building and there is an aspiration to promote such approaches and support skills/training in these methods of construction for a wider UK benefit.
Whenever you generate energy there is also an element of heat loss, either though the fabric of the building or flushing hot water down the plug hole.
New designs and technologies are available to recover some of this heat and return it to the home or building for re-use. By utilising these approaches, where appropriate, heat can be recovered in order to reduce energy demand and lower energy bills.
The Science and Innovation Park will be an exemplar for healthy working practices to promote productivity, collaboration and the ‘open innovation’ vision for the development. The design of these spaces is important in order to provide the best possible health environment with plenty of natural light and flexible space to ensure employees are in a welcoming space with access to sports facilities and local greenspaces.
The workplace for people has significantly changed with the current health pandemic, therefore everyone needs to feel comfortable and safe within this environment. Like never before, measures to address such future situations occurring again will be designed and considered within the plans, alongside Government and expert guidance.
The new homes will also have practical and well-designed workspaces to respond to homeworking needs for all members of the family supported by a hyper-broadband network to ensure well-connected online meetings and calls.
Technology evolves at a rapid rate; new advances make our lives more efficient and connected to the world around us.
The delivery of the Science and Innovation Park alongside the new community provides an opportunity to influence the roll out of new technologies and devices to respond to our current and future needs such as, providing access to Education & Health Services, as well as the sports and community facilities being delivered as part of this development.
In order to deliver this, a strong fibre optic infrastructure is required to deliver hyper-fast speeds to support the range of existing and future services. Therefore, fibre will be delivered to every new building on site from the new homes to the community and commercial spaces.
Water resources are finite; therefore, it is important this natural resource is managed efficiently for the benefit of the environment and people.
This includes the water we use from the tap and the management of surface water within the development to create new features such as swales to prevent surface water flooding. For new homes water demand will be reduced to below 100 litres per head/per day which is 40 litres per head/per day lower than the national average. This will help move towards a position of water neutrality between the water currently used and the future demand. Initiatives will include the reuse of water on site through grey water recycling. Commercial buildings will reach the BREEAM Excellent Standard for water efficiency to demonstrate in the design and planning of these facilities the highest standards will be achieved.