The redevelopment of Saxonvale by Acorn Property Group is set to be a characterful and vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood that encourages a sustainable lifestyle where residents can live, work, relax and play within close proximity. The central principle of the development is to create a new sustainable urban neighbourhood that empowers residents to live more sustainable lives. Acorn emphasises the importance of creating ‘impact accountable lives’ raising sustainability awareness amongst residents and other users of the development. It involves the provision of living, working and social opportunities conveniently placed to reduce the need to travel and boost local economic activity, as well as social interaction which will contribute to the vitality and cohesion of this new community.
Bioregional, an award-winning internationally renowned sustainability charity, works with companies to create homes and communities that make it easy to live a sustainable lifestyle, using its One Planet Living® principles.
Bioregional has analysed the proposed sustainability strategy for Saxonvale and confirmed that the scheme addresses all ten One Planet Living principles that cover social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Lewis Knight, Programme Manager at Bioregional says: “One Planet Living is a vision of a world in which it is easy, attractive and affordable to live happy, healthy lives within the limits of our Earth’s resources. Our principles are grounded in the reality of how people live their lives rather than box ticking and we have worked with Acorn by providing guidance and detailed goals to enable Acorn to deliver the sustainability aspiration for Saxonvale, so it can achieve its ambition to create a new sustainable neighbourhood for Frome.”
Acorn recognises the importance of the built environment, structure and facilities, and the collective role they have in determining the overall carbon footprint of householders. For example, where people live in relation to where they work and whether they can walk, cycle or use public transport enables people to commit to low carbon lifestyles more easily, by allowing for greener transport choices. Saxonvale creates a sustainable living and working community that capitalises on proximity to Frome town centre and the presence of the river with its associated network of footpaths, enables lifestyles for which access by foot and bicycle are central features. The emphasis is on sustainability by location, Saxonvale is ideally situated within a 5-minute walk of the new public square, leisure facilities, independent shops, schools and job opportunities.
Saxonvale will bring employment opportunities in the form of commercial and co-worker space, as well as convenient live/work units that provide flexible workspace on the ground floor that can be used for retail units, workshops, offices, food and drink outlets on site. The new homes will support residents to work from home through homeworking-friendly design which in turn supports local economic growth. As the scheme is located close to the town centre this itself reduces the need to travel by car, it also begins to address commuting out of town as residents can walk or cycle to get their hair cut, grocery shopping and leisure activities supporting the local economy. By improving and installing convenient, safe and enjoyable pedestrian links and cycle routes throughout Saxonvale this brings a practical solution to reducing environmental pollution and promoting easy sustainable travel.
The new dedicated cycle paths which are proposed as part of the development will be ready to link into any new infrastructure brought forward by the district and county councils in the future, as part of their wider sustainable travel strategy which looks to improve commuter routes. This should lower the need for car use as it reduces the need for daily commuting, potentially reducing the overall level of car ownership and offers residents a quality of life that makes the decision to live with one car and occasional use of a local community car club facility, a feasible option. Dedicated bike storage for all dwellings will be provided with access to electric sockets for charging ebikes and escooters.
Electric car charging points will feature within the development, supporting the future of electric vehicles and making use of renewable energy for the benefit of the new and existing community. Econetiq are seeking to provide 17 communal fast rapid car chargers, the energy supplied to these charging points will be from Good Energy and based on 100% renewable energy generation.Richard Clarke, Director at Econetiq explains “Saxonvale is an ambitious mixed-use scheme that is helping to grow the national charging network, proactively seeking to provide both a progressive and scalable solution to meet the targets for electric vehicle adoption highlighted by the phasing out of internal combustion vehicles by 2030. Econetiq will provide communal fast and rapid charging points which can be easily upgraded to match the adoption of electric vehicles. This is considered to be far more sustainable and accessible than having individual chargers which themselves carry a carbon footprint for the comparative number of vehicles served and would each be used for a fraction of the time in comparison to an effective communal solution”. Richard continues “the combination of electric car club vehicles and e-bikes as well as 17 chargers equates to 240 electric cars being kept on the road, therefore helping to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the ‘Road to Zero’ targets.”
In addition, Acorn has a commitment to sustainable water management, using water efficiently and ensuring high-quality water is returned to the environment. A wastewater strategy will include a Sustainable Drainage System that involves multipurpose gravel swale which enhance water quality through water filtration. To ensure water efficiency, it is proposed that low water usage fittings be installed across the development, which will include flow restrictors on basin taps and dual flush toilets. Saxonvale will also include public drinking water fountains in key spaces throughout the development to improve access and availability of clean drinking water.
Another key goal of Saxonvale, is to create opportunities to engage with the outputs and the strengths of the local agricultural economy. There are plans in the community spaces to have mini-orchards and raised planters that will be used for vegetable and fruit production, making it easy and attractive for people to enjoy fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable produce.
Robin Squire, Managing Director of Acorn’s Bristol Region says “Acorn fully supports that Frome is a town committed to reducing its carbon footprint and shares aspiration that Saxonvale is a carbon neutral community, to meet the challenges of climate change and build a greener future for the people living in Frome. The new homes at Saxonvale will of course be energy efficient and designed with best practice materials and design principles appropriate for contemporary needs such as triple glazing as standard for maximum efficiency.”