A SOUTH Tyneside architect who helped turn an eco-friendly housing dream into a reality has designs on national success.
Craig Fitzakerly, managing director of Fitz Architects, was the brains behind the innovative Sinclairs Meadows estate in South Shields, the first carbon negative social housing development in the UK.
The green scheme has already been recognised with victory in the sustainable development category of the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Excellence awards, and now it has been entered into the LABC’s National Building Excellence awards.
The awards event will be held at The Brewery in London on November 12.
Residents in Sinclair Meadows’ 21 homes enjoy some of the lowest energy bills in the country as the two and three-bedroom properties boast the largest array of solar panels on domestic dwellings for electricity.
A communal biomass boiler, fed with recycled wood chippings, provides heating and hot water while rooms are south-facing to benefit from the sun’s warmth.
More than 500 people applied to live in the development, even undergoing auditions to show they had suitable green credentials. The project was delivered in partership with South Tyneside Council, Four Housing Group and Groundwork South Tyneside and has won a clutch of accolades, including the Innovation Award in the Constructing Excellence in the North East 2013 Awards, and the Best New Affordable Housing Scheme award at the Housing Excellence Awards in Manchester.
Mr Fitzakerly, from Cleadon, is delighted that the forward-thinking development is gaining recognition.
He said: “We are flattered to have been shortlisted for this prestigious national award. It is very rewarding to receive the recognition after putting so much hard work into the development.
“It was an interesting and challenging project to work on, but one which we’re very proud to have been part of.
“As a practice, we’re very interested in sustainable developments, and Sinclair Meadows was at the forefront of new ideas and technology.
“Fuel poverty and rising energy prices have been very much in the news recently, and it is going to be more and more important for architects to think about energy-efficient buildings and designs which will keep the bills down.”