Pocket power plant set to energise Milton Keynes mini-estate

A mini power station that uses fuel pellets made from rubbish is set to provide cheap electricity to a new mini estate being planned in Milton Keynes.

The council is drawing up plans to make new houses at Cripps Lodge, in Netherfield, super energy efficient, with some of their power coming from fume-free “micro-generation”.

The Cripps Lodge site, in Netherfield

The Cripps Lodge site, in Netherfield

The emerging plans for the future of the derelict Cripps Lodge site were revealed to a group of councillors and residents at a meeting of the MK Council development review forum on Monday.

The meeting was told that the development of 64 affordable homes on the former adult social care hub site would use no fossil fuels like oil or gas at all for energy.

The houses would use solar panels to power air source heat pumps, and perhaps even batteries in the houses to store power when the sun does not shine.

The £11 million scheme, which is at a pre-application stage, would also see a micro-generation plant that would use pellets produced from MK’s rubbish to produce electricity.

Martin Stannells, the council’s development manager, said energy bills could be 68 per cent cheaper “than current energy bills on Netherfield.”

The mixture of bungalows, flats, and one, two, and three bedroom properties would have energy efficiency ratings of B+ or A, with charging points for electric cars, and full fibre broadband.

Tim Skelton, who chairs the MK Forum, challenged the planners to go further to make new homes even greener and more energy efficient to “force the issue.” The council wants to be the greenest in the world, and has set itself ambitious carbon reduction targets.

The meeting was told that the said the costs of top of the range “Passivhaus” designs would make the site unviable. They would mean all the houses being set in the same direction, he added.

The development review forum is held every couple of months to give residents and others the chance to challenge the design of up-and-coming proposals, before planning applications are lodged.

Residents, members of Woughton Community Council, and city design watchdogs did not hold back on giving members of the council’s planning department and their architects DCa their views and concerns.

Netherfield ward councillor Janette Bobey said there were issues over where residents would store their waste bins, traffic access, play areas, and flooding. The planners agreed that all those issues were in hand or would be examined.

Council officers confirmed that an order to demolish the current buildings, which have been the subject of vandal attacks since the site closed last year, was signed about a month ago.

Demolition is expected in about two months, which will please at least one resident who urged the council to get on with it.