First glimpse of plans for a ground-breaking sustainable health, leisure and residential scheme in Harborough

The new initiative comes after several years of planning and consultation

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 5:58 pm
The architect’s impression of the proposed site (by Zedpower)

A ground-breaking sustainable health, leisure and residential scheme is being put forward for a major health and wellbeing centre in Market Harborough.

The Harborough Solar Rise blueprint is part of the Green Neighbour Project - the brainchild of ambitious husband and wife team Alec and Stella Welton.

They own and run the Archway Health and Wellbeing Centre on Lubenham Hill on the western edge of Market Harborough.

The architect’s impression of the proposed site (by Zedpower)

The new initiative comes after several years of planning, consultation and support from award-winning architects Zedpower, Harborough council’s planning department and Lubenham Parish Council.

The ecological venture would expand health and wellbeing services Archway can offer as emotional, physical and mental health has become a priority for many people amid the Covid pandemic.

Supplementary consulting rooms, a coffee shop/multi-functional community space, guestrooms with ensuite bathrooms for health stays and dedicated studios for classes including Yoga, Pilates, Nia and Barre will all feature.

The scheme would also create extra office space and eight self-build/custom built homes.

The architect’s impression of the proposed site (by Zedpower)

The proposed plan has been designed not just to enable the buildings to generate all their own power and heating needs, making them energy neutral, but to generate excess energy, making them energy positive.

Using sustainable materials in the build, they will also be carbon neutral within four decades.

“We are acupuncturists by profession, practice owners by consequence and business owners out of necessity," said Alec Welton.

“We have never built anything and are definitely not property developers.

Alec and Stella Welton

“But we are passionate about sustainability and we care about the world we live in, which is why what we create and how has such enormous personal significance for us.

“Managing climate change is everything, as global warming is the greatest crisis of our times.

“We have already passed the point where all new buildings should be sustainably built and able to generate their own electricity and heating.

“We also need to aim for community micro-energy generation schemes in which households produce more sustainable power than they need, which they can then share with their neighbours,” added Alec.

“This is why we coined the phrase Green Neighbour Project.”

The bold blueprint aims to be one of the UK’s greenest and cleanest projects.

The buildings will be unlike any of 7,000 new homes which already have planning permission to be built in Harborough over the next seven years.

“We feel councils are often unfairly blamed for the buildings and homes they allow to be built in communities because in reality they are limited by the guidelines the Government lays down and the opportunities people bring to them,” said Alec.

“We would like to see more autonomy for councils as we believe that most, including our own, would step up to the plate and deliver a more ecologically-balanced built environment if allowed.”

The couple are keen to get their local community involved and have their say on the pioneering plans.

“We see this as the only socially responsible way to build, and an investment for future generations.

“We are aiming for total transparency.

“So all the plans for this project can be found online at www.harboroughsolar.co.uk, including all the documentation that was recently submitted to Lubenham Parish Council and Harborough District Council,” said Alec.

“We hope that people will take a look at the project and share their thoughts with us, the planning department or their local councillor using the contact details on the website.”

Alec and Stella established their business in Market Harborough in 1997.

They relocated Archway Health and Wellbeing from its town centre site to Lubenham Hill in 2010.

The couple transformed the run-down pub into one of the largest health centres of its kind anywhere in the UK.

The centre offers a wide range of services – and they can be seen at https://archwayhouse.co.uk/