Tim Byles’ new firm agree deals with Plymouth council for zero-carbon village scheme

Cornerstone, the firm set up by former Partnership for Schools boss Tim Byles, has agreed a deal with Plymouth council to create an 86-home zero-carbon community in North Devon.

The partnership between the council and CornerstoneZED - a joint-venture between Byles’ Cornerstone Property Assets social investment company and architect Bill Dunster’s Zedprojects - will see the village built at Bickleigh Down, which is expected to become a regional hub for low-carbon industries.

Of the new homes proposed, up to 66 would be family properties with the remainder being flats, while at the development’s heart would be a village green and nearby would be allotments.

Cornerstone chief executive Tim Byles said the scheme was a “truly innovative development”. He said the homes would be so energy efficient, each would generate enough income from energy produced that the cost of each property’s utility bills would be covered, with the potential for payback from local energy providers.

Plymouth City Council leader Vivien Pengelly said the project would put the authority at the forefront of the eco-homes industry.

“This is exactly the type of innovative economy that we need to develop,” she said.

Byles said Plymouth anticipated signing an option agreement in relation to the project in the coming months, after which a formal planning application would be submitted.

He added that construction could begin later this year.