Plans lodged for new ‘Gap House’ concept to bring ‘affordable, eco-friendly’ homes to Horfield

Plans have been submitted to turn a council-owned disused garage plot into affordable eco housing

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Plans have been submitted for Bristol’s new concept, the ‘Gap House’, which it is hoped will supply affordable and eco-friendly housing in Horfield.

The contemporary Gap House will be built just off Bell Close, on a council-owned disused garage plot.

Aerial view of site on Bell Close, Horfield (Credit BDP)Aerial view of site on Bell Close, Horfield (Credit BDP)
Aerial view of site on Bell Close, Horfield (Credit BDP)

The plans propose a row of nine, one-bedroom, two-storey, homes, each of which will have an open-plan kitchen-living area and bathroom on the ground floor, a bedroom and storage on the first floor, and large windows.

The site, which sits between two rows of back gardens of existing homes, will include green space and outdoor seating in front of each home to encourage social interaction and community cohesion.

The unit will be largely factory-built using modern methods of construction (MMC), in order to minimise disruption in the neighbourhood.

The cost effective homes will be super-insulated to support minimal heating requirements.

They will also use renewable energy generated by solar PV panels and air source heat pumps, resulting in minimal environmental impact and low running costs.

The eco-homes have been commissioned and funded by Bristol City Council and designed by BDP’s Bristol studio in partnership with the Bristol Housing Festival.

Martin Jones, landscape architect director in BDP’s Bristol studio, hopes that the ‘Gap House’ concept could be replicated in cities and towns across the UK.

Internal view of Gap House (Credit BDP)Internal view of Gap House (Credit BDP)
Internal view of Gap House (Credit BDP)

He said: "There are many disused garage plots across the country that have fallen into disrepair. The Gap House concept has been designed to intelligently repurpose these urban plots, providing much-needed new affordable homes and revitalising neighbourhoods.

“Low energy lighting, solar panels and air source heat pumps will ensure these eco-homes are both highly sustainable and cost effective.

“The entrance to each property has been carefully designed to promote a front porch culture encouraging residents to connect and bring the community together."

The site off Bell Close in Horfield.The site off Bell Close in Horfield.
The site off Bell Close in Horfield.

Jez Sweetland, director at Bristol Housing Festival said: "Tackling the housing crisis requires innovative approaches.

“The Gap House is a shining example of this; helping unlock brownfield land to deliver quality, sustainable and affordable housing.

“I am excited about the potential of this concept not just for this site but to help unlock and revive other small sites in the city and beyond."

This new concept is the latest in a series of innovations being explored by Bristol City Council and the Bristol Housing Festival to tackle the housing crisis. 

If the project is a success the council will potentially be identifying further sites for Gap Houses in the future.

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