A new Passivhaus housing development in York is bringing back a sense of community and encouraging families to interact, a council boss has claimed.

Councillor Michael Pavlovic, City of York Council's executive member for housing, planning and safer communities, joined council officers at a media briefing at the Duncombe Square site, as reported by The Press. 

The site is being built to standards which exceed existing housing regulations and is part of the council’s housing delivery programme.

The 34 properties in Duncombe Square are part of the council’s commitment to develop 600 new homes across York on council-owned sites.

The site promises to cut heating bills through ‘super-insulation’ and recycling of heat generated in the home - but also boasts green spaces and social value through supporting community living, sustainable transport choices and connectivity.

Cllr Pavlovic said of the open spaces in the development: “It’s encouraging families to interact.

“To get to know your neighbours, that’s place-making again.

“We’ve moved away from what I remember in the 1960s and 1970s where there was community and then we kind of moved away from that to some extent, didn’t we?

“And then people don’t know their neighbours and I think that’s one of the problems that we have in some of our areas, that you just don’t know and don’t play with, and don’t interact with that much.

“And this development will really encourage that.”

Cllr Pavlovic said that council maintenance teams will need to be trained to understand the higher standards of construction – all joins are taped to stop air escaping and the walls are of double thickness to accommodate special insulation materials – to echo a green skills gap identified by council housing officers in the private sector.

York Press: Cllr Michael PavlovicCllr Michael Pavlovic (Image: Supplied)

Other council-owned sites with plans for affordable housing include a development in Ordnance Lane in Fulford and an application for 85 homes there includes building to Passivhaus standards.

Cllr Pavlovic said: “Just the prospect of being able to live somewhere that you would feel warm, and safe, and comfortable.

“The technology’s moved on and what I think we’re creating here is something for the future, for our children to be able to grow up in environments where they are healthier, they’ve got a really nice place to live and they’ve got more of the financial security of knowing exactly what their fuel bills are going to look like.

“At the moment, I think we are living almost not daring to open the fuel bill when it arrives because you have no idea how much it’s going to be.

“This should take some of that anxiety out.

“But then we want to encourage builders to move down this path.

“We’ve got a local plan coming through – we’re going to see 18,000 homes over the next 15, 20, 25, 30 years and we want them to embrace this technology because by doing that we will future-proof the properties but also support the environment, our climate aspirations and the world’s climate aspirations.”