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Newquay Zero Bills Community

Projects / Residential

Newquay Zero Bills Community

Project information


Client: The Verto Group

Project Date: 2013



Site Location: Newquay, Cornwall, UK

Project Status: Construction Finished

The site is located on the corner of Mount Wise and St Georges Rd in the heart of Newquay, a short walkfrom the beach and located on a hill that enjoys fantastic sea views.

The site is currently home to the run down Cedars Hotel which is an eyesore for the local community and detrimental to the local character of the area. To the east of the site is another derelict plot awaiting re-development. It however a fantastic site with enourmous potential and the applicants hope that the proposed development will play a large part in transforming the location and restoring it’s character.

Mount Wise contains a mixture in scale and style of residential buildings, mostly 3 or 4 storey high, andsmall scale commercial units. It is also home to many hotels and guest houses, due to it’s convenient central location and proximity to the beaches. To the East of the site is a quite extended public car park area, whilst to the West Mount Wise road leads toward the Ocean beach. The western site boundary layson St George’s Road. As well as Mt Wise, St George’s Road consists mainly of residential buildings, of avariety of ages and character from Modern, to Mock Tudor to contemporary.

Although the site is at about 500m from the coast , the sloping topography does allow for views of theocean.


The Verto Group appointed the Architects ‘ZEDfactory’ to design this flagship eco-development. ZEDfactory have a long history of successful, innovative, and award winning buildings - specialising in zero carbon developmentsand low energy construction. The brief for this project was to design homes which are beautiful, desirable, and built using an innovative new eco-home system developed by ZEDfactory: the Zero Bills Home.

This application, if successful, could see the construction of the 1st ‘Zero Bills Community’ in the UK, help toput Newquay truly on the map with regards to cutting edge eco-construction and pave the way for many morehigh quality / low energy developments to be built in this way.

The construction and renewable energy systems of these homes are described in more detail in the ‘sustainability’section of this document.


The town houses line the perimeter of the site to the South and West, with a pedestrian route through atthe South / West corner to enhance site permeability. This route offers a visual link to the sea, and accessfor residents between the parking area and their front doors. This arrangement allows all homes to have living room windows, bedroom windows, and a roof terrace all facing the sea.

The roofscape of the scheme is worthy of particular mention, utilising a novel ‘roof integrated’ solar panel system, which is described in full later in this document. The application of this product has driven someof the design and massing decisions with regard to solar orientation and maximising the solar electricaloutput, whilst also optimising useful rooftop areas to benefit from the views and natural daylighting.

Each home follows a common typology: The front door and main entrance face the street, and each home has its own front garden with planting and refuse storage. The ground floor consists of 1 bedroom,1 study / spare room, and a bathroom. The main bedroom is located at the rear of the property facing the view with access to a private terrace.The 1st floor consists of a further 2 bedrooms - 1 with an ensuite, and 1 shared family bathroom. The 2nd floor, with the best natural daylighting and views, contains a spacious open plan living room to the North, and a kitchen to the South.

The top floor features a spectacular rooftop conservatory underneath the photovoltaic solar roof - a solarloft. This provides valuable extra amenity space, and although it is uninsulated and un-heated, it trapsthe suns energy and provides a rooftop ‘winter garden’ ideal for growing plants and entertaining guests.The solar loft opens out onto the north facing roof terrace with ocean views.

Scale & Massing



Cedars Hotel was a 3 story white rendered block with bay windows, external deck access and a flat roof.

The neighbouring buildings on Mount Wise are also both 3 storey hotels. A residential 5 storey block has been more recently built just near the public car park on Mount Wise (see image below).

The proposed application appears to be 3 stories on the Mount Wise elevation, with the eaves from the solar roof being lower than the hotel to the east. The top floor raises to the north, forming thesolar loft and then the roof terrace facing the views. The street frontages follow the building line of the neighbouring buildings and allows for private gardens to the entrance of all units.

On St Georges Rd the buildings have saw toothed rooves and appear as 4 stories. The terrace stepsdown the hill in line with the contours. The top floor is in fact an unheated ‘solar loft’’ and provides access to the roof terrace facing the ocean. The neighbouring Blue Seas Hotel is an imposing 3 storeybuilding, and the existing Cedars Hotel currently stands at nearly 4 storeys from ground level at thatside of the site due to the slope of the plot.

The home on the corner, unit 6, is part of the St Georges Rd terrace, but architecturally acts to unify the two terraces as part of the same scheme. The scale steps down at this point, by continuing the plane of the PV roof of unit 5. This serves to reduce the visual bulk of the proposal at the prominent corner of the site, whilst celebrating the integration of the solar panels and bringing them to the forefront of the visual language as viewed from Mount Wise.


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