Zed Homes has won its planning appeal to build a green housing scheme of more than 1,000 apartments in the centre of Ashford, Kent.

The scheme will be built to level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and also includes 88,000 sq ft of retail. The secretary of state Hazel Blears issued her decision yesterday after the application was called in last December.

Michael Shwartz, managing director of Zed Homes, claimed the decision would create Britain’s first eco town. ‘We can create something unique and Ashford can become the most sustainable town in Europe,’ he said. ‘It is very exciting to get this decision.’

Shwartz said the scheme was likely to be developed in a joint venture between Zed Homes, Skanska and the housing association Genesis. Twenty per cent of the homes will be affordable.

Shwartz said funding was in place to build the scheme but detailed designs needed to be agreed first with Ashford borough council before construction can begin. The outline design is by Giles Downes of architect Sidell Gibson. Arup is advising on environmental issues.

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