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Eco-homes earn a green nomination

GREEN PRIDE ... Groundwork executive director Andrew Watts and Four Housing operations director Dawn Keightley.

GREEN PRIDE ... Groundwork executive director Andrew Watts and Four Housing operations director Dawn Keightley.

THE developer behind the borough’s greenest homes is in line for a Pride of South Tyneside Award.

Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle, based at The Eco Centre in Windmill Way, Hebburn, was nominated in the Greener South Tyneside category for its work on Sinclair Meadows in Laygate, South Shields.

The development of 21 homes, on a disused car park, is the UK’s first carbon negative social housing development.

John Short, chairman of Windmill, a small trading firm owned by Groundwork, nominated the independent charitable trust.

He said: “The aim was to reduce carbon emissions through the use of innovative design and by incorporating renewable energy technologies.

“Sinclair Meadows has the ability to wipe out the carbon footprint created during construction within 2.8 years, as the homes generate more electricity than they use from solar panels, feeding electricity back into the grid.

“As a result, the combination of eco-aware tenants and cutting edge renewable technology means Sinclair Meadows contributes directly to South Tyneside Council’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.”

Before moving into one of the nine three-bedroom houses or 12 two-bedroom apartments, tenants were trained in an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, such as using the rainwater harvesting system to flush toilets and maximising energy savings from the solar panel. Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork’s, said: “It is wonderful to see the vision created back in 2007 by our late chairman, Dr Willie MacFarlane, to design and construct an exemplary and affordable housing scheme that has negative carbon emissions.”

The project received £1.7m from the Homes Communities Agency, £1.4m from Four Housing Group, which owns and manages the homes, and £695,000 other public funding.

Mr Watts added: “We are thrilled to have been nominated for Sinclair Meadows.”

The Pride of South Tyneside Awards, organised by the Gazette, South Tyneside Council and the Customs House, recognise the borough’s unsung heroes.

Ten awards will be handed out in a glittering ceremony at the Temple Park Centre in South Shields on Sunday, April 28.

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