Willmott Dixon to construct first phase of Bicester eco town
Construction firm Willmott Dixon has been selected by A2Dominion to work on the initial phase of the UK's first eco town at Bicester, Oxfordshire. The firm has secured a £27 million contract to build the first 94 of the planned 393 true zero carbon homes that will constitute the initial part of the project. Known as the Exemplar, this stage is one of only nine developments in the world to be awarded BioRegional’s One Planet Living status.Some 30 per cent of residences on the first phase of the development will be affordable homes. A primary school, a local shop, an eco-pub and a community centre will also be built as part of the Exemplar phase, in order to create a "village feel".NW Bicester is intended to be the forerunner of developments that will have a minimal environmental impact and promote sustainable lifestyles. The environmental focus begins at the construction phase, during which none of the waste will go to landfill sites.Existing hedgerows, wildlife corridors and ponds are to be incorporated into the layout of the community. In addition, 40 per cent of the Exemplar will be green, open space.Properties will be built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level Five, supported by PV solar panels on every home. It will be the UK's largest residential solar array and capable of supplying energy to 550 homes. Charlie Scherer, chief operating officer for Willmott Dixon's housing company, said, "We're delighted to be working with A2Dominion on the Exemplar phase at NW Bicester … [It] is an ambitious project that provides a unique opportunity to set new environmental standards that will become the benchmark for other projects; we are looking forward to working with A2Dominion to achieve this."Mr Scherer said the company will use local companies and locally-sourced construction materials wherever possible, helping to create and sustain jobs. Willmott Dixon aims to recruit at least 20 per cent of its labour force from within a 20-mile radius.
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