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Work begins on affordable eco-apartments in Salford

Work has begun on 100 high quality, affordable, sustainable, one and two-bedroomed Passivhaus homes, on Peru Street in the heart of Salford.
Salix Homes Salford

Willohaus, which was granted planning permission by Salford City Council last summer, forms part of the £2.5bn Crescent Salford regeneration, which is a partnership between Salford City Council, the University of Salford and ECF (formerly The English Cities Fund).

The apartments, being built on a disused car park, are being delivered by ECF , a public-private partnership between three of the UK’s leading regeneration and investment organisations, Homes England, Legal & General and Muse. The partnership was set up in 2001, to bring together the best of the public and private sector, to transform urban areas and create exceptional new places.

Salford housing association Salix Homes, which owns 8,000 homes across Salford, is the housing partner for Willohaus, working alongside ECF. The landlord secured grant funding from Homes England and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, alongside its own investment, with the new homes forming part of Salix Homes’ wider ambitions to deliver more affordable and sustainable accommodation across Salford.

Designed to provide a comfortable environment for residents, Passivhaus buildings can reduce energy bills by up to 90% compared to traditional housing stock, helping residents to reduce their fuel bills while cutting carbon footprints. This is achieved through a whole-building approach to efficient, high-quality construction, which is independently tested and verified.

Willohaus will be the second collection of sustainable, affordable apartments that ECF has brought forward with Salix Homes following the success of Greenhaus – another pioneering Passivhaus certified development in Salford which completed last month (March 2024) and delivered 96 affordable homes. Both projects have been designed by renowned architects, Buttress.

Liam Turner, Executive Director of Assets, Growth and Sustainability at Salix Homes, said: “Following on from the Greenhaus development, we’ve established a solid partnership with ECF to build more affordable homes in Salford that are high quality, cleaner and greener.

“Passivhaus is the gold standard for energy efficient buildings and construction, so we’re incredibly proud to be part of another ground-breaking development that will deliver desperately needed new and affordable homes in Salford which are better for the environment, support our carbon neutral ambitions, and help reduce fuel poverty for residents.

“Both Greenhaus and Willohaus represent a new era of new-build, affordable, and eco-friendly homes that are fit-for-the-future and contribute towards the battle against climate change, while helping to tackle the housing crisis.”

Joe Stockton, Senior Development Manager for ECF, added: “We’re pleased to be continuing our partnership with Salix Homes, following our success delivering low-energy, Passivhaus-standard homes at nearby Greenhaus. What has previously been done on a relatively small-scale, we are now looking to upscale, making sustainable homes accessible and affordable for a wider range of customers.

“We’re looking forward to working with our partners to create a vibrant, well-connected neighbourhood at Crescent Salford, starting with our Willohaus community.”

Tom Stannard, CEO, Salford City Council, said: “It is such great news to see works starting on another eco-friendly development in our city. The incredible Passivhaus standards will see residents using much less energy and in turn paying much less for their energy bills. I’d like to thank all our partners for their hard work as we work to be a zero-carbon city by 2038.”

The name Willohaus is inspired by Salix Homes’ name, with Salix being a variety of willow tree synonymous with Salford. A Salix willow tree can be found in the nearby memorial garden at the University of Salford.

It is the first Passivhaus-certified development to benefit from funding through the new ‘trailblazer’ devolution protocols, which have seen Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) given greater powers and funding to enable more truly affordable net-zero homes, via the Affordable Homes Programme.

Tom Hawley, Head of Affordable Housing Growth – North at Homes England, said: “Willohaus will not only be a very high quality and high energy performance building, it will also bring 100 affordable homes for rent into this significant regeneration scheme.

“This demonstrates how flexible the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme can be to meet local need for affordable housing as well as contributing to reducing the carbon footprint from housing. The project shows great vision and partnership working from all involved.”

The Willohaus site is situated in the heart of the historic civic district of Salford, which has been undergoing extensive regeneration in recent years. It was once a key industrial area for the city and back in the 1800s the site was home to a public bath house.

The homes are being built by lead contractor Eric Wright Construction.

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