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Welsh Government Backs Development of Energy Efficient Homes

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The United Welsh Housing Association (UWHA) has secured crucial Welsh government funding to develop modular Passivhaus homes that can be rolled out to the mass market. Richard Mann, Group Director of Operations at UWHA, told the Built Environment Networking Conference that they’d secured cash from the government’s Innovative Housing fund to build the scheme on the site of a former primary school in Caerphilly.

UWHA is using the funding to develop 19 homes using the modular construction techniques in a bid to demonstrate that low carbon building works for larger developments and ‘not just the bespoke properties seen on Channel 4’s Grand Designs’ programme’.

Richard Mann said:

‘’Whilst the UWHA doesn’t have the capacity to sustain a manufacturing facility, RSLs in Wales are good at working collaboratively, and we’ll have about five associations looking to work together on the factory’’.

He said that the scheme, which is so tightly insulated that it doesn’t require central heating to keep warm, is due to be complete in March.

Cara Aitchison, President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff Metropolitan University, told the Built Environment Networking Conference that her institution’s plans for a new central Cardiff campus at the former Brain’s brewery site were ‘well advanced’ and the centrepiece, which occupies the waterfront location close to the mainline railway station, is a school of technology covering 8,000sq m.

The school of technology is set to ‘enhance the south Wales economy by boosting the size of the region’s digital economy talent pool’.

Aitchison said:

‘’This is an emerging area where south east Wales can differentiate itself within the UK. It will increase opportunities in the digital economy which could help address the existing under-provision of graduate jobs in the region.’’

She also confirmed that the school of education would be relocated to the site from its current Cyncoedm Campus base. The new campus will include 650 new student accommodation units and a 5,000sq m Innovation Hub.

Mark Bailey, Director of Planning and Development at Cardiff Airport, told delegates that the council-run organisation was working on a masterplan to guide its development over the next 20 years after seeing visitor numbers plateau – whilst though of nearby Bristol have increased.

The plan would examine the development of a new business park on land surrounding the airport’s runway which covers a total of 72 acres. The airport also has plans for two new hotels – one which would be aimed at high-end, whilst the other would be aimed at the more basic hotel market.

Peter Moore, a board member of Northern Powerhouse Developments said that their planned Afan Valley Adventure Resort in South Wales will generate 1,000 permanent jobs.

He said:

‘’It’s a substantial investment which will raise Wales’ profile as an international tourism destination’’ with The former Centre Parcs Executive added that the site is ‘tailor made’ for an adventure leisure scheme.