Love Wolverton: All electric community energy housing scheme submitted for planning

6 January 2021

The £28 million redevelopment of the Agora Centre, Wolverton in Milton Keynes has been submitted for planning by TOWN. It will provide 115 new homes, shops and community space laid out around new and reinstated streets in the historic railway town.

Working alongside several leading design practices, including URBED, Mikhail Riches Architects and Mole Architects, we  provided M&E Engineering, sustainability advice and acoustics for the planning application on behalf of TOWN.

This exciting scheme places low carbon at the heart of its design.

  • All electric utilising air source heat pumps (ASHP) for heating and hot water generation, with underfloor heating to maximise ASHP performance.
  • Roof space solar panels maximised, with generation routed back to a central battery. Dwellings can purchase their electricity through the Community Energy Service Company (CESCo) which brings with it many advantages, such as the central battery allowing all of the on-site electricity generated by the PV to be used on-site, and being able to decouple the electrical demand of the site from peak demand on the grid. Both allow the operator to purchase electricity for less money, therefore being able to sell electricity to the occupants at below market rates.  The profits generated will be community-owned so that they can be reinvested in further energy efficiency schemes within the local community with the potential for customers beyond the site boundaries added in future.

  • High performing fabric, significantly above building regulations with mechanical ventilation with heat recovery ventilation providing highly efficient, healthy background ventilation.
  • External blinds to high solar exposed facades provide a passive approach to overheating, with modelling carried out using CIBSE TM59 methodology.
  • Low embodied carbon through the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) frames. All residential elements of the development (approx. 85% by floor area) are to be constructed in CLT frame.
  • Plans to fit 12 residential units with sensors to measure performance and record temperature, relative humidity and volatile organic compounds. The data will be analysed and used by the site management team.
  • Car-free streets and shared courtyard spaces that give residents greater amenity than their plot alone
  • The dwellings have an 80% reduction in calculated carbon emissions compared to the Part L requirements.

“I’m delighted that after nearly two years of hard work by the developer, community representatives and Milton Keynes Council, this milestone has finally been reached. There’s still much more work to do, but I’m confident this redevelopment can deliver for everyone in Wolverton whether small businesses, residents, faith groups or shoppers from outside the area. Our town centre is so very important; thankfully this close to £30million investment promises a very bright future for our cherished and historic town.” -  Robert Middleton, Wolverton Ward Councillor on Milton Keynes Council and Chair of the Agora Regeneration Working Group