Be First, is helping residents reduce energy bills by building eight, sustainable and affordable homes at Palomar Court in Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking, east London, using Willmott Dixon’s innovative Collida housing solution.

To celebrate the topping out of Barking’s greenest housing block to date, Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of the Council, was joined by Oliver Lester, Operations Manager at Willmott Dixon, the contractors for the east side of the Gascoigne Neighbourhood, and staff from Be First, the urban regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council.

All homes in the block are built to the leading international design standard ‘Passivhaus’, meaning that the properties deliver a high standard of comfort, health and energy efficiency. Crucially, Passivhaus design creates warmer homes that are cheaper to heat, helping residents reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions. Using modern methods of construction, the units were built off site and brought in meaning they were produced 50% faster and created less waste. The properties are also substantially better ventilated than older housing stock, greatly reducing the risk of damp and mould developing.

Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “This project is all about building homes that are future-proof to improve the lives of residents now and for generations to come.

“This is a significant step in our march towards Barking and Dagenham becoming the green centre of the capital and cementing our position as London’s largest builder of council homes. Once finished the new Gascoigne Estate will be home to the greenest, most affordable neighbourhood in town.”

In keeping with Be First’s commitment to prioritising community driven regeneration, four of the eight Passivhaus homes will be marketed at London Affordable Rent, and the remaining four homes will be rented at the cheaper Affordable Rent levels.

Oliver Lester, Operations Manager at Willmott Dixon said: “We’re delighted to be able to have the opportunity to work with Be First and Collida to deliver such highly sustainable and economical homes for the current and future residents of the Gascoigne neighbourhood. In line with our Now or Never sustainability strategy, these homes will be future-climate ready and optimise the health and wellbeing of the people living and working in them, for many years to come.”

Jared Birch, Deputy Director of Construction at Be First, said: “These homes are modern, high-quality, and affordable properties that will reduce residents’ energy consumption and improve their standard of living. It is exactly the type of property that we should be building in the context of the cost-of-living and energy crises and Be First will continue to deliver homes like these across Barking and Dagenham.

“We have conducted a rigorous design process, using energy efficient fabric to improve thermal efficiency and airtightness, as well as installing triple glazed windows to attain very high levels of insulation and protect residents from noise pollution.”

The new homes add to the 526 homes already being delivered by Be First on the eastern side of the Gascoigne neighbourhood.