Over the coming weeks people passing the Carnival site will start to see lots of activity as the adjacent apartments, called Carnival Place, start to go up alongside the Hub.
The 55 new apartments are being built using an innovative fabric first construction approach helping make the Carnival Place apartments some of the most energy efficient homes anywhere in the borough.
The modern construction approach used by the council’s contractor, Mid Group, means that the building structure is formed using pre-cast panels made in a factory, and fitted with everything from brickwork and insulation, before being delivered and craned into place. This approach also speeds up the build process and helps reduce the impact of the construction site with fewer deliveries and a smaller workforce needing to be in place.
Importantly the approach places an emphasis on incorporating high levels of insulation throughout the building which, along with using triple glazing and other improvements, will make the building robustly air-tight and prevent heat escaping from inside meaning minimal heating is required.
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “As part of our climate emergency action plan we said we wanted to lead the way in low carbon development, showcasing what can be achieved if you are willing to experiment and embrace new technology. Carnival Place is a perfect example of this and a project we’re proud to be helping deliver.
“By targeting operational carbon neutral for this building not only are we contributing towards lowering carbon emissions and working towards our vision of a carbon net zero borough by 2030, but we are also helping tackle issues like spiralling energy costs as the new apartments will be low maintenance and require minimal energy to run.”
In addition to the measures buried in the fabric of the building, Carnival Place also includes other carbon reduction elements such as solar panels on the roof, air source heat pumps to provide hot water and mechanical ventilation, with each apartment controlled individually to provide the perfect indoor climate.
This means that Carnival Place will be the council’s first ever operational carbon neutral housing development, where carbon savings from these green initiatives offset the small amount of energy consumption still required to run the building itself.
And Carnival Place is even better for the borough as, in addition to helping towards a greener vision for development, profits made from selling the new apartments are being ploughed back into the regeneration and helping deliver the Carnival Hub, with its new large leisure centre, library and cultural use at no cost to the taxpayer.
Cllr Munro continued: “When we made the decision to regenerate Wokingham at part of the last Local Plan we made the commitment that, not only should the scheme provide lots of community benefits, like the new Carnival Hub and the play area at Elms Field, but that it had to be a commercially viable project meaning it funded itself and didn’t require any subsidy.
“In order to do this, we developed the Wokingham regeneration model, which has seen the regeneration sites of Peach Place, Elms Field and Carnival funded through profits made by selling off residential properties built on the site and through rental income from the commercial units as well. And it’s even better news for all residents, and not just those living close to the town centre, as excess income from the regeneration comes back to the council to fund projects and essential service across the borough for years to come.
“The model has gained a lot of interest nationally, winning several awards and seeing the team invited to speak at several conferences to share best practice about the approach. It’s increasingly being considered by other councils as the way forward and something we ourselves believe can be used elsewhere in the borough to help deliver the facilities our residents deserve.”
The Carnival Place development is due to complete later in 2022 and includes 55 high quality and energy efficient one- and two-bedroom apartments adjacent to the new Carnival Hub leisure centre, library and cultural space.
Further details of the properties, and how to register your interest if you are interested in purchasing one, will be published soon.
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