Work starts on £17m gas-free housing development

Start On Site
  • Air source heat pumps will power the entire development – thought to be the largest of its kind in the UK
  • 140 low carbon affordable homes will be delivered on behalf of Stonewater
  • New site will tackle carbon emissions and fuel poverty

Work has officially started on what is believed to be the largest gas-free new housing development in the UK.

Leading housing provider Stonewater appointed EQUANS, the new name for ENGIE’s services led activities, for the £17m project, which will transform a former quarry into a low carbon scheme of 140 gas-free affordable homes in Flanshaw, Wakefield.

The project has been supported with Homes England funding – awarded to the long-term strategic partners Stonewater and Guinness to build 4,500 homes by 2025.

Each of the new homes will benefit from the installation of solar electricity panels, in addition to being heated with an air source heat pump (ASHP).

ASHPs are a low carbon alternative to gas boilers that use heat from outside to power heating and hot water systems, helping to further reduce household bills and supporting the UK’s bid to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The pumps run on electricity and are around three times more efficient than a standard boiler, resulting in lower carbon emissions.

Nathan Brough, Regional Director at EQUANS, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to lead on this exciting project, which gives us the perfect opportunity to combine our zero carbon and regeneration expertise to create much-needed affordable family housing.

“Heat accounts for around a third of all CO2 emissions in UK homes, so it’s never been more important to look to renewable technologies to help create sustainable communities, and we’re really proud to be doing just that here in Wakefield.”

Chris Montague, Director of Development (North and East) at Stonewater, said: “We’re pleased to be working with our partner EQUANS and to be delivering a low carbon, new homes project of this size and scale – designed to tackle the challenges presented by the climate crisis.

“In addition to supporting us to reduce carbon emissions, the installation of ASHP is essential to helping us alleviate more households out of fuel poverty. This low carbon heating will enable us to provide efficient and comfortable homes that in turn are more cost-effective for our customers – particularly important following the latest announcement about the increase to energy prices.”

The Flanshaw development – located on the site of a former quarry off Flanshaw Lane - includes a combination of houses, flats and bungalows, ranging from one to four-bedrooms. The completed development – which will also have the infrastructure for electric car chargers to be installed in future – will comprise of 75 homes for affordable rent, as well as 45 shared ownership homes and 20 available through a rent-to-buy scheme.

On providing more affordable homes to the district, Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Property, added: “We welcome the creation of more affordable homes in our district.

“At a time when energy prices are rising, I applaud the approach that has been taken here, which will ensure more vulnerable tenants are not falling into fuel poverty, and I hope many other developments will consider becoming low carbon like this one.”

In addition to providing much-needed affordable homes, Stonewater will also be enhancing the public realm – including commissioning public art and treeplanting across the scheme.

Work is expected to complete in May 2024.