NEW shops, a cafe and a nursery are among the plans for a 'zero-carbon' local centre at one of Oxfordshire's newest estates.

A community centre, a nursery and offices are also planned for the 'heart' of Bicester eco-town.

Housing giant A2Dominion has submitted its plans for the Elmsbrook estate in North West Bicester in a planning application to Cherwell District Council.

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The development, designed by architects at ADP Architecture, also includes affordable housing and a ‘public realm’ at the centre of the development.

The architects said their aim was to create a ‘distinct community heart’ for the estate while responding to its 'eco-town credentials'.

ADP has provided environmental consultancy for the scheme and said it had achieved a highly-efficient, low-energy and 'zero-carbon design'.

The Oxford Times:

Director Craig Cullimore said: “ADP has signed up to Architects Declare – a call-to-arms in response to the global threats to climate and biodiversity.

“Elmsbrook is an excellent example of where the client, engineers and ADP are converting aspirational statements into demonstrable action, and have made environmental mitigation and enhancement key to the design solution.

“We have used our collective expertise to transform, delight and sustain this growing community.”

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The architect said the scheme would take a ‘fabric first’ approach which involves primarily using materials that will help buildings be energy efficient before considering the use of other methods.

It also said it would ensure appropriate insulation, daylighting and building size was used to complete the zero-carbon scheme.

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) requirements will also be met, which were established by the Building Research Establishment in 1990 which describes itself as ‘the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for buildings’.

Steve Hornblow, A2Dominion’s head of special projects (NW Bicester), said: “We are pleased to be working with ADP on the design of the Elmsbrook Local Centre, which will provide new homes and social spaces for the residents.

“It is important that we continue to invest in the infrastructure at NW Bicester to ensure that we have a sustainable eco-town for the future, with community spaces such as the local centre creating a social hub for residents of Elmsbrook.”

The multi-award winning eco-town development is currently home to 393 'energy efficient homes', Gagle Brook Primary School and Elmsbrook Community House.