What Are Passivhauses ?

This week’s “Yellow List” of planning applications can be downloaded here. These are applications that probably don’t need to go the Development Committee. Officers have prepared a report on each one, with a recommendation. If no councillor calls it by Wednesday lunchtime, the recommendation comes into effect.

Two of the applications this week are small ones for building in the Green Belt – both are recommended for refusal on Green Belt grounds.

One is at “Land East Of Gardiners Lane, Lambourne Hall Road Canewdon” for a bungalow

The other is at land “opposite 1 – 10 Disraeli Road Rayleigh” and is an outline application for ” 2 4-Bed Passivhauses, Associated Landscaping And Biodiversity Enhancement”. You may well be wondering what Passivhauses are. Well, there’s a clue in the details of the report:

“The proposal is to create two new dwellings to the passivhaus standard. The
dwellings would also incorporate the installation of ground array photovoltaic
panels, rainwater harvesting and aim to achieve a zero carbon rating. The
dwellings would incorporate 300mm of insulation, feature triple glazed
windows, mechanical ventilation heat recovery and high standards of build
There are no details of the scale and design of the dwellings apart from it
being stated that the buildings would have an elongated linear appearance to
integrate the dwellings more successfully into the landscape than a
conventionally designed dwelling. It is proposed to landscape the upper part
of the site with deciduous trees and to plant the lower party of the site with

If you want to know what something is, try wikipedia:

The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint.[1] It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling…
Estimates of the number of Passivhaus buildings around the world in late 2008 ranged from 15,000 to 20,000 structures.[6][7] As of August 2010, there were approximately 25,000 such certified structures of all types in Europe, while in the United States there were only 13, with a few dozen more under construction.[1] The vast majority of passive structures have been built in German-speaking countries and Scandinavia.

Building new homes in the Green Belt is only allowed in very special circumstances (unless you take the land out of the Green Belt, as is happening on big sites around the district). Does being a Passivhaus make it very special circumstances?

About the author, admin

  • In the Echo tonight , Rayleigh house proposal refused on the grounds of Green Belt, Poor drainage and limited access – why did’nt that apply to the 500
    houses on Land North of the London Road then ? , or even 500 houses at Hullbridge …………or 91 houses at Timber Grove etc;etc; etc;.

    • What happens Jim is that the Core Strategy took land OUT of the Green Belt, that’s why it could then be developed. (Not saying that I agree with it, mind, but that’s how it works). What is still in the Green Belt still is protected.

  • Admin – yes I appreciate the manipulation process , But that just underlines the inconsistacy – No to two ( eco friendly units ) but yes to 500+ standard units. And justifying it by the addition of drainage and access issues , but completely ignoring the same issues on the other hand. This central government policy implemented via compliant political Council endorsed by
    a government appointed Inspectorate , as Cllr Hudson once said ( several times) a DONE DEAL.

  • What are we to conclude from this decision? The reason for rejection given was that it is located in the green belt. But so is Bullwood Hall, and what isnt explaned is why this greenbelt reasoning doesn’t apply to Bullwood Hall. Is it because Bullwood Hall will provide a greater number of houses, posher houses? I don’t believe that these are published criteria. Surely neither of these two sites is part of the preferred development areas of RDC. One application has been passed and one rejected.
    It seems that rules don’t really mean much, as how they are applied depends on some secret, unpublished criteria employed by RDC and our elected representatives.
    Personally I believe that RDC is anti small development, and there is a substantial evidence base to prove that it prefers large developments. Don’t think I read that only large-scale developments will be allowed in the green belt, but that seems to be the rules of the game.
    Double standards surely, but the more important questions are, why, and how is such a lack of clarify being allowed. Local democracy RIP? Maybe we just need to trust RDC and our elected reps, and not bother holding them to account for their decisions. They seem to make it up however they want to anyhow, and they get away with it.

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