Some great news today, we’ve been granted planning permission for our new Zero Carbon HQ. More impressively, from our point of view, it didn’t take an appeal… 🙂
Only slight bummer is that it’s planning permission for a site we don’t own – not yet anyway.
The site is on the way into Stroud (where we’re based) and it’s known as Tricorn House. It’s an ugly brute of a building that’s stood empty and derelict for a decade or so. Actually in architectural terms it’s style is described as ‘Brutalist‘.
Have a wander round (Streetview may take a few seconds to load):
It belongs to an offshore property developer and he’s been unwilling to sell it or do anything with it himself for a long time now.
So last summer, working with our local council, we tried to Compulsory Purchase it and we fought a public enquiry over that. And we lost. The main reason being that the inspector thought we should have planning permission – to make our scheme more certain. It was an odd decision to say the least. But, unwilling to take no for an answer, as is our way – a few weeks ago we submitted for planning and we got our scheme consented today. That’s an important step.
We’re hoping to be back in the Compulsory Purchase process with the council in a few weeks time.
But what about the building we plan to build?
That’s where it gets exciting. We’ll have to start from scratch. Flatten the site (even with the best eco will in the world it really is beyond redemption) and build from first principles. Maximising the south facing side for passive solar heating (and maybe a little PV) while maximising insulation and minimising windows on the cold sunless north side. Using the height of the building to create air flow for ‘passive air con’ aided by cooling from underground water sources – and maximum use of natural light through translucent walls. We’ll have rainwater harvesting (it’s the moat running round the site) and grey water recycling. And living walls – walls that change colour with the seasons. And more.
Check out the images here, it is an amazing looking place.
The idea is to create a building for say 250 people, that will be as near to Zero carbon in its operation as we can make it. A building that’s inspirational to look at and work in.
The site itself is walking distance from the town centre, right on the major bus routes of Stroud, next to the cycle path and the canal – we may even get to run electric water taxis to town and back. So for getting to work with minimum carbon, it’s ideal.
That’s it – we’re a step further down the road today towards the realisation of a pretty ambitious project. All going well we could own the site by the end of this year and be doing some demolition in early 2011.
We need a name for it though, not sure Tricorn House or New Tricorn House will cut it. Open to suggestions as ever.