The Worshipful, The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Gerald Lee and his Mayoress Mrs Ruth Lee, met with the new residents of The Waterside, the UK’s first zero carbon retirement development before joining them at a celebratory champagne reception.
He told guests at the reception that he had been ‘staggered’ when he first saw the development which is surrounded by 17 acres of secure, peaceful woodland with a wetland area and a large duck pond designed to attract wildlife.
“The bungalows exude quality and comfort and no expense has been spared on them. I’m so proud for Darlington to have the country’s first zero carbon retirement homes here” said Councillor Lee. “It’s giving people a very high quality home while making moving and living here as stress free as possible.”
Mrs Amy Gibbs, who will move into her new Waterside home in the autumn, said: “I made the decision to move here the minute I saw it because I loved the setting and that the bungalows were extremely well built. I have a couple of friends here already and I like that it’s really close to Darlington which I go to a lot for my social life. It’s like country living but with none of the disadvantages of a rural life.”
Jeremy Walford, managing director, told the audience that three out of four architectural practices they had approached had said building zero carbon retirement bungalows could not be done. “I’m extremely proud with what we’ve achieved at The Waterside” he said. “Middleton Hall is about people. It’s about our fabulous staff, our enthusiastic residents and their families and friends. It’s what brings the community of Middleton Hall together.”
All but one of the homes in the first two phases of the 35-home development have been sold with buyers attracted by the rural views, spacious rooms and the extremely low energy bills.
Each of the traditional looking bungalows are fitted with wood burning stoves, triple glazed windows and high levels of insulation with electricity generated from PV (photovoltaic) panels.
The Waterside has already won two awards this year; a Clean British Energy award from the environmental charity Friends of the Earth and a Best of Darlington 2014 Contribution to the Environment Award. Due to demand for the homes, the completion date for the development has been moved forward.