The largest residential Passive House scheme in the UK has been praised as a beacon of sustainable and affordable housing at its opening ceremony on Monday 19 June 2017.

The award-winning Heathcott Road, in the Saffron Lane area of Leicester, developed by emh group, hosted the official opening with new residents alongside the Leicester City Mayor and partners who have invested time and money into the scheme’s success.

emh group Chief Executive Chan Kataria, who was recently awarded an OBE for services to housing in the East Midlands, said: “Heathcott Road is not just a collection of 68 affordable homes. As well as being good for the environment, they help to address fuel poverty. I am delighted that we were able to regenerate a disused site and breathe new life into the community with much needed housing while at the same time supporting a community enterprise.”

The £9 million project kicked off in 2013 when the former derelict allotment site was sold by the Council for £1 to the Saffron Lane Neighbourhood Council (SLNC). They then leased the land to emh group, who has created the 68 eco-friendly homes for affordable rent that will address priority housing need in the area.

Speaking at the opening, City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “This cutting-edge development shows that Leicester is leading the way for environmentally sustainable housing. These impressive new eco-homes are the result of a determined and ambitious vision shared by Saffron Lane Neighbourhood Council, emh group and other partners. The results are something we can all be proud of.”

Heathcott Road has been designed by architects rg+p and constructed by Westleigh Partnerships. It has taken 70 weeks with 40 men on site every day. Four of these have been solely dedicated to achieving the Passive House credentials, which means that the homes can be heated for as little as £13 per year.

Chris Beighton, Managing Director of Westleigh, said: “Since 1991, we’ve worked with emh group and delivered thousands of family homes. Heathcott Road is a landmark not only because of what we’ve achieved, but because it has brought us so far from the methods we used 26 years ago.”

The development includes an adjacent permaculture farm which will provide education on food growing, cooking and healthy eating, an allotment, beehives and a full time debt and welfare support officer.

Resident Victoria Mouanga said: “I moved here with my husband and two daughters last October. We live in a three-bed house, yet it’s cheaper to heat than the two-bed flat that we used to live in. Heathcott Road has got a nice community feel and it’s a lovely place to live.”