A TV PRESENTER, an ex-Saints player, the Winchester Mayor and an ecologist were all at the launch of a new housing development in the village of Kings Worthy.

The new environmentally friendly development at Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, near Winchester is of 50 houses, with 20 being affordable homes.

Kevin McCloud, presenter of TV’s Grand Designs, company HAB Housing was behind the design of the homes which have been designed to the highest environmental specifications.

Kevin McCloud speaking at the event praised the homes and said: “You can’s whip people into being green but you can give them lower carbon homes that use less energy and conserve water but as well as that there will be a whole myriad of wildlife on this site. “

“On Grand Designs we are unusual in that each house is a one of a kind but here with HAB Homes at this site the word sharing is a big word. For a start each one of the gardens will have access to this shared green space and there will be a car share scheme.

He added: “Each home was built with high ceilings and to increase light, there are skylights, balconies and roof terraces and every home has solar panelling integrated into the building.”

Kevin explained that the architect for the project, John Pardey, had previously had two houses short-listed for design of the year.

HAB Homes have included at the site a 12 acre wild flower meadow, swift boxes, bat boxes as well as bee bricks, all to encourage wildlife. There is even a ‘swift tower’ with 24 nesting boxes which plays recordings of swift to encourage the seasonal visitors to use it.

Former international footballer and Saints player Graeme Le Saux was at the event to represent the charity of which he is a trustee, Fields in Trust, who work to protect green spaces and playing fields. A meadow at the site is being given to the community to be held in the stewardship of Fields in Trust and an exercise track will also be a feature.

Graeme said: “Fields in Trust are fighting to protect these green spaces and this is the first time a developer has worked with Fields in Trust in this way. We hope this shows that people are changing their minds about green spaces and that fields are valuable, and that we all benefit from them. The only reason I became a footballer was I had access to green spaces.“

The Mayor of Winchester Cllr Jane Rutter was at the event and tried on a virtual reality head set. A number of properties at the development were custom built and buyers used virtual reality sets to choose their preferred layouts and designs.

The Mayor said “It was refreshing to work with a developer that wanted to enrich the local community. I want to congratulate everyone involved. HAB Homes have taken account of the local community. I have had no complaints from local residents which very rare. We met with WinACC in the consultation and the whole room was bowled over by the green aspects of the project such as the car club, and the gifting of acres of land to the Parish Council and as a local councillor I can’t ask for more.”

Parish Councillor Stuart Newell said that the Parish Council was excited by what the development could offer to the community such as the wild flower meadow, new allotments and an orchard.

City Councillor Jackie Porter said: "I think the development is really imaginative, the open space will be a boost to the community. I like these houses and they are environmentally friendly too. I've been impressed with the way HAB have worked with the local community."

The ecologist for the project, Davog McCloskey with Salisbury firm Peach Ecology said: “They’ve gone way beyond what they needed to do. They didn’t need to include a wild flower meadow but they did. We found slow worms on the site and protected them. Other developers will be encouraged to be environmentally friendly because of what has happened here. Other places are now putting in things like swift towers too. There is no star rating good enough for this project. It has exemplary standards.”

The 30 homes being sold Charters Estate Agents range in price from £465,000 to just under £900,000. There are also 20 ‘affordable homes’ being sold by Radian with a ‘shared ownership’ option. Only 4 of the 30 houses are left on the market, and the development has been shortlisted for a Housing Design Award.