Green scheme stays true to its vision
SATURDAY OCTOBER 2 2010
Green scheme stays true to its
vision and survives the recession
THE apartment boom in Leeds
sparked a macho contest over
who could build the biggest,
the best and the “blingiest”
block of flats.
Few lived up to expectations
and even those that did could be
condemned as all “fur coat and
no knickers” compared to a
on the fringe of the city centre.
Greenhouse in Beeston is the
most eco-friendly apartment
scheme in Britain and close to
zero carbon emissions.
Stripping the former
Shaftesbury House workers’
hostel down to its skeleton,
developers Citu packed the
building with insulation and
topped it with two wind turbines
that help to light the corridors
and power the lifts.
Ground source heat pumps
work with 44 solar panels to
bring hot water and warmth into
the flats, ground floor offices,
gym and deli.
A heat exchange system brings
in fresh air and allows excess
heat to be transferred so
redundant energy generated
from the offices during the day
can be used to warm water for
residents in the evening.
Grey water is collected from
rainfall on the roof and from
showers and washing machines.
It is then filtered and used to
flush the toilets.
Even the numbers on the doors
are green – made from recycled
But to make the building this
sustainable, the enthusiastic and
hands-on young development
team at Citu, headed by MD
Chris Thompson, development
manager Karen Stafeckis and
marketing director Fraser Stride
have sacrificed a slice of profit.
The eco elements added
10 per cent to the build and the
plant rooms needed to house
the green technology ate into
In a move that would make
most profit-hungry property
developers shudder, Citu also
shunned traditional telephone,
TV and video entry cabling and
splashed out on a sophisticated
IP network that delivers
everything through the TV.
You get TV channels, films, an
noticeboard, door entry services
and even local bus and train
information. Most importantly
your TV brings what Chris calls
“the modern day equivalent of
the 50p meter”.
A utilities page reveals the
energy usage for your flat plus
Beck House, Church Lane,
Collingham, near Wetherby.
Contact: Beadnall Copley,
tel: 01937 580850,
THE old two-bedroom farmhouse that older villagers
remember at the bottom of
Church Lane in Collingham, is
unrecognisable after a series of
exterior and interiors
It is now a luxurious home that
was given its first facelift in 1971
and has been owned by the
same family ever since.
“A developer bought the farmhouse and renovated it for himself but in the end his wife didn’t
want to leave their home in
Leeds. My father had got to
know him and said, ‘If you
The Land Registry index reveals
that house prices were up an
average 0.3 per cent in August
but with Yorkshire prices
showing the greatest monthly
fall of 1.4 per cent.
Annual prices rose 6.7 per cent
with Yorkshire property showing
a 2.6 per cent increase.
The region with the highest
annual price change is London
with a rise of 11.4 per cent.
survey of estate agents and
surveyors shows that prices fell
by 0.4 per cent in September,
with Yorkshire out-performing
this average at 0.3 per cent.
Hometrack say that the market
is entering the second phase of
the re-pricing process as a
response to falls in both sales
volumes and demand. They say
agents will start to focus on repricing property on their books.
The Society for the Protection of
Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is
staging a Paint Effect Craft
Weekend in Whitby. The course
led by paint expert Frank
Garbutt, will include graining
and marbling techniques, and
runs on November 12 and 13.
SPAB course organiser, Claire
Martin, says: “This is the ideal
course for people who really
enjoy taking a practical
approach to their home
renovation projects and who
aren’t afraid to get stuck in and
learn a new, but ancient, skill.”
Total cost, including materials
and equipment, is £180
Contact Claire Martin on
0207 456 0915
NEAR-ZERO CARBON: The wind turbines which help to power lights and lifts are one of the energy-saving systems at the Greenhouse in Beeston, Leeds.
FRINGE BENEFITS: The contemporary flats are situated in Beeston, 10-15 minutes from the centre of Leeds.
itemised bills for heat, electricity,
cold water, hot water and grey
“There is no point having a
green building if people waste
energy. The energy monitoring
really makes you think.
“I washed the floors of a
penthouse apartment this
morning and when I checked I
found I’d used 20 litres of hot
water, which cost £1,” says
The only slight compromise in
the building is its location in
Beeston. Its energy-generating
technologies could only be
bought by building in a gritty
area, where the price of land is
cheap. Though Beeston was upand-coming at the tail end of the
property boom and is only 10 or
15 minutes walk or drive from
the city centre, it is still edgy.
“It needed to be a brownfield
site in a fringe urban location.
It’s allowed us to create what we
wanted and keep the price of the
apartments low. Plus there is a
lot of regeneration going on here
and it’s great to be part of that,”
Greenhouse has 166 studio,
one-, two- and three-bedroom
homes and prices start from
£59,000 for a studio, while a
penthouse costs £237,000.
Most of the investors and
owner occupiers who bought off
plan have stuck with the
scheme, CITU have kept 20 flats
to let and there are 46 left to sell.
Marketing the finished product
for sale and rent is made easier
thanks to its eco credentials,
promising heating bills 60 per
cent cheaper than the average
flat. The apartments are also
slightly larger than those in LS1.
“We’re really pleased because
our rental agents are telling us
that people are choosing
Greenhouse over developments
in the city centre. We are
different and people love what
we’ve done, which is
encouraging,” says Fraser.
Even more impressive is that
Greenhouse was built against
the odds. It was barely underway
when the credit crunch killed off
scores of developments.
It survived thanks to the
determination of its bright
young team and the support of
the Co-operative Bank.
“It was a toss up between RBS
and Co-op and we chose the Coop because of their ethical
approach. If we hadn’t then I
don’t think we’d be here,” says
Every day of the build brought
a new challenge, sourcing green
materials was time consuming
and there were endless sets of
“The 80 metre bore holes to
access ground source heat were
the biggest risk. Even after
surveys you don’t know what
you’re going to find until you
start drilling down and you can
end up with just a very
expensive hole in the ground,”
Citu is now based at
Greenhouse and will manage the
site. They are also discussing
how to take their concept to
other areas. “It’s inspired a lot of
interest from other companies
and we have got some other sites
in mind,” says Chris.
■ Greenhouse, Leeds, is staging
an open day today from noon
to 6pm, hosted by MP Hilary
■ For more details, visit
Chance to add to home’s catalogue of happy memories
ever sell, I’d love to live there’
and so he had first refusal,” says
Carol lived in the house from
the age of 14 and when her parents downsized in 1987, she
bought the property.
“It’s the most amazing family
house filled with so many great
memories. I had my 21st birthday party here, my sister had her
wedding reception here and my
own children have grown up
here,” she says.
Carol and her husband Simon
have extended the property
adding more bedrooms and ensuites, another staircase, a purpose-built bar room, a stunning
kitchen and a magnificent hardwood conservatory made and
maintained by Oak Leaf.
“The conservatory is wonderful, full of natural light and we
spend a lot of time in there.
“It’s our favourite room,”
The house, set in an acre, now
has a reception hall, inner hallway, cloakroom, drawing room,
dining room, snug or study,
kitchen, conservatory, utility
room, boiler and store rooms.
On the first floor there is a
master bedroom with en-suite
bathroom, dressing room or
bedroom four, three further bedrooms – two with en-suites and
a house bathroom.
Outside, there is an attached
double garage and a range of
stone outbuildings and a stable.
The garden was created from a
field by Carol’s father and she
has inherited his green fingers
and eye for landscaping.
She has added to the specimen
trees and plants and made a
series of outdoor rooms including a dining room with teak
table and chairs, a sitting room
with wicker sofas and chairs and
a parterrre she calls her “little
piece of Tuscany”.
There is also a vegetable garden, greenhouse, shed and a
large lawned garden bordered
on one side by Collingham Beck.
The Wyatts commissioned
Bramhall Blenkharn to design
another extension and facelift
for the Beck House and they
have planning approval to create
LIGHT AND SPACE: Beck House in Collingham boasts a magnificent conservatory, right.
a 4,800 sq ft contemporary home
with atrium and gallery.
There is also potential to build
another property in the grounds.
Planning permission has existed
in the past, but has since lapsed,
for a detached dwelling.
But despite her love of design,
Carol doesn’t have the heart to
follow through either project.
“Our daughters have grown-up
and gone and it’s just the two of
us now, so we decided to have a
lifestyle change and redesign the
“It looks amazing on plans
with the front glazed and all
open plan inside, but I just feel I
can’t do it.
“There are too many happy
memories here for me,” she says.
“So we have decided to move
instead to something smaller,
suited to two people.
“What I’d really love is for
another family to buy this
house and enjoy it as much
as we have.”
Beadnall Copley is looking
forward to a bumper crop of
viewings this weekend. They are
staging the second of three
Multi-Viewing Open Weekends,
this time for properties priced
More than 100 homes are
available to view between
11am-3pm on both days. “Our
first Open Weekend, two weeks
ago was highly successful, with
our Wetherby office agreeing
sales on almost 50 per cent of
those taking part, for properties
priced up to £250,000,” says
Sellers and would-be buyers
should contact the offices in
Harrogate, Wetherby and Ripon.
Windsor and Maidenhead are
the wealthiest areas outside
London with average property
values of £409,939, according to
property search website Zoopla.
North Lincolnshire is the
poorest area in England with an
average house price of £125,000,
which is 44 per cent below the
South Yorkshire ranked as
fourth poorest place with an
average house price of £137,413.
Zoopla say there is a growing
North-South divide in house
prices. The average property
value in England now stands at
£225,045, 8.7 per cent below the
peak reached three years ago
but up 11.2 per cent from March
Country Life and Savills property
agency are launching a search
for Britain’s favourite country
houses. Oscar-winning writer
Julian Fellowes, the creative
force behind ITV1’s Downton
Abbey, is one of the judges, and
reveals his own favourite house
is Highclere Castle. He says:
“Designed by Sir Charles Barry in
the first years of Queen
Victoria’s reign, Highclere is an
extraordinary Gothic statement
of English aristocratic
Nominations will be invited for
properties in a rural setting.
See the October 27 edition of
Country Life magazine, and
online at www.countrylife.co.uk
Can we borrow the cash both to buy and refurbish a property?
Q: We are first-time buyers and
are looking to buy a property
that needs some renovation
work. Is there such a thing as a
mortgage that covers the cost of
buying the property as well as
basic renovation work? We only
have a deposit saved up.
A: Certain lenders currently offer
what they refer to as a “light
refurb” mortgage, which can fit
the bill perfectly. This allows you
to borrow a proportion of the
value of the property which,
with the deposit that you have
already saved, should be enough
to enable you to buy your home.
The big difference is that this
type of mortgage also allows you
to take a further tranche of
borrowing once the works have
been completed and certified by
Please remember, however,
that you will need to show
sufficient earnings to support
the full amount that you borrow.
Q: I’m a first-time buyer and
planning to buy my first home. I
also hope to go travelling and rent
my property out while I am away.
As the property will be my home
rather than an investment
property, can I still get a firsttime buyer’s mortgage or would I
have to get a buy-to-let property?
A: You would be advised to take
the mortgage out now on a
residential basis then, when you
plan to let the property, simply
inform the lender that you wish
to do so. The lender will then
decide if they will give consent
to let, subject to their own
individual criteria. This could –
but by all means will not always
– lead to an increase in the rate
of interest charged on the
Ultimately you could also
remortgage the property on a
buy-to-let basis, subject to a
suitable loan to valuation ratio
and rental income potential. The
important thing is to obtain
independent advice from a
qualified mortgage broker, who
will be in a position to
recommend whether this route
is worth considering in the
Q: I am looking to purchase a
flat, and have been given help
towards the deposit from the
builders. How will lenders treat
this? I own my own home and I
am self-employed. The property
is not to rent out but for our
A: Virtually all UK based lenders
will nowadays accept a builder
paid deposit, but the property
must value up to the asking
price, and that the purchase
price must also be realistic. This
precludes builders from inflating
the purchase price purely for
valuation purposes, just to lower
it again on the basis that they are
covering your deposit.
Some lenders may require that
you have available the same
amount in savings or equity that
you would ordinarily be putting
towards the deposit, while many
lenders will only accept an
incentive up to a maximum of
five per cent of the purchase
Your broker should be able to
assist you in applying to a
suitable lender which will accept
the deposit that you are
receiving from the builder.
Q: My husband and I own our
own property outright and have
never had a mortgage. We
would like to buy an additional
property to use for holiday lets
but seem to be struggling to find
a mortgage. The main problem
seems to be that it would not be
a buy-to-let with a tenancy
agreement and although we
could buy the house based on
our income it would not be our
main residential property.
A: Any mortgage on your
proposed holiday home would
not be as a buy-to-let, and nor
would it be classed as a main
residence. As such, the best
option would be to raise the
capital by remortgaging your
existing property, to enable you
to purchase the holiday home
The advantage is that, provided
that your main residence offers
suitable security for a mortgage,
you would be able to benefit
from the lower rate deals that are
available. Of course, this
depends on the value of your
main residence, your income
and outgoings, as well as the
equity available in your home.
Although you do not currently
have a mortgage, some lenders
will still offer you a loan based
upon their remortgage terms,
although some lenders will class
the transaction as a purchase,
even though you already own
the property, on the basis that it
is currently mortgage free. In
those circumstances you would
therefore be responsible for the
standard valuation fees and legal
■ Franz Muelthaler is Mortgage
Adviser at Wakefield and
specialists Holroyd Miller. Tel:
01924 465 671.