arrow_back_ios Back View more articles

Lid comes off White Horse Housing Association’s passive homes development

White Horse Housing Association has lifted the lid on its ground-breaking £2.8 million low-energy homes development in Wiltshire almost a year after work commenced.

Villagers have been anxiously awaiting a glimpse of the ten new sustainable homes at Hook Hollow on the site of the former Park Farm in Seend Cleeve, which have been built to rigorous ‘passive haus’ standards – which means they will be incredibly energy efficient, resulting in relatively lower costs for the new residents in a time of high energy prices.

The homes have been shrouded under a protective canopy, known as a ‘top hat’, while work has progressed on making the one, two and three-bedroomed timber framed homes airtight.

A curious crowd gathered at the site to watch the construction team gradually lifting off the covers to reveal the slate roofs and brick exteriors for the first time.

“Everyone has seen the artist’s impressions of what the homes will look like but they have been really excited to see them unveiled,” said White Horse operations director Belinda Eastland. “It was wonderful to see them without the canopy, they look superb.”

Construction began in August 2022 with a provisional completion date of November this year. The development has four two-bedroomed, one three-bedroomed and two one-bedroom homes for rent as well as two three-beds and one two-bed for shared ownership sale.

The homes arrived on site in ‘kit form’, comprising pre-cut timber frames which were then assembled, insulated with sustainable wool and sealed with airtight wind and waterproof tape before the exterior was cladded. Thanks to this, and the triple-glazed windows, the homes are completely draught-proof and will need just one modern Quantum storage heater downstairs and a towel rail upstairs.

“The storage heater is programmable, clean and very cheap to run,” said Belinda.

A mechanical ventilation system regulates the home’s temperature so that it is cool and summer and warm in winter and solar panels on the roof will further reduce energy costs.

Both the rental and the shared ownership homes will be occupied by families and people with a local connection. “The shared ownership purchasers can only buy up to 80 per cent of their home,” said Belinda. “The other 20 per cent is retained to ensure the homes are only ever sold to people with a link to the area so they will always be there for the community.”

White Horse Housing Association is the development’s main funder but it has also been partly funded by Homes England’s Affordable Homes Programme, together with a contribution from Wiltshire Council.

The project has been run in partnership with Seend Community Land and Asset Trust. The homes were designed by PKA Architects of Potterne and built by Winsley White Builders of Radstock.

The land was made available by the Seend Community Land and Asset Trust in partnership with Seend Parish Council and was identified after a review of many potential sites and a public consultation.

The land was bought by White Horse Housing Association and then sold to the community land and asset trust for £1 before being leased back to White Horse Housing Association for 995 years.

Belinda said: “That way everyone knows that the homes are there for the community forever.”

“It has been named Hook Hollow after Tony and Carol Hook, who have farmed there since the 1960s. “Mr Hook sadly died earlier this year so this development is a wonderful legacy for him and his family.”

Community land trust chairman Steve Vaux said White Horse Housing Association has been crucial to the project.

“The culture within White Horse is distinctively different to that of larger housing associations,” he said. “It understands rural housing issues, is customer-focused and achieves high satisfaction rates.”

He said the partnership between the community and everyone involved in the project has been essential to its success.

“Sound local consultation, with the housing association, architect partners and community members all participating in the process, proved to be both essential and empowering.”

Pictured: White Horse Housing, contractors and representatives of the Seend community celebrate the protective covering coming off £2.8 million sustainable homes

Praise for hero builders who tackled blaze as White Horse Housing Association welcomes first tenant at village development

Read more


Affordable homes at new neighbourhood will help keep village alive, says housing association boss

Read more