A highly sustainable, energy efficient development at the former Coal Research Establishment (CRE) in Gloucestershire looks set to go ahead after the site was sold to a national housebuilder.

The 25-acre brownfield site near Cheltenham has been acquired by Bloor Homes from leading development company Ashfield Land in a £10 million deal, it was announced today.

Bristol-based Ashfield Land obtained planning permission for a mixed-use scheme comprising 129 residential units and 20,000 sq ft of employment space, along with community facilities and public open space.

The new development, at Stoke Orchard, is focused around the Dean Brook that runs through the site. Plans include ecological improvements to enhance the brook and surrounding area.

Announcing the deal, Ashfield Land managing director Andrew Fisher said: “It is with great pleasure that I can today announce that we have sold the former Coal Research Establishment site at Stoke Orchard to national housebuilder Bloor Homes.

“The proposed development is an exciting project which I am confident will become a model of how to commercially develop energy efficient, community sensitive housing-led schemes in rural areas.”

Ashfield Land acquired the brownfield site in 1995 as an income-producing investment and has since evolved into a sustainable mixed-use scheme. The project is designed to a high environmental standard and will include BREEAM Excellent for the employment aspect. The residential element has been designed to achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 – the single national standard in the design and construction of sustainable homes and a means for driving continuous improvement, greater innovation and exemplary achievement in house building, he added.

News of the deal follows the recent announcement by Ashfield Land that its exciting £50 million plans to regenerate part of Swindon town centre have taken a major step forward.

The company has now acquired the 50% of Regent Circus Ltd that had been held by joint venture partner Parkridge Retail Ltd, which went into liquidation in August. Negotiations with liquidator PWC were successfully concluded and the company is now pressing ahead with the stalled scheme. Ashfield Land now owns 100% of Regent Circus Ltd.

The Regent Circus scheme has received detailed planning permission from Swindon Borough Council. The plans include a 52,000 sq ft Morrison’s superstore, eight restaurants and bars, a 30,000 sq ft six-screen cinema, 450-space car park, and converting the former Victorian technical college into offices. Ask is the first national restaurant chain to lease a unit.

Ashfield Land is a property development company with a proven pedigree. Its success, underpinned by significant equity resources, enables it to pursue fresh opportunities irrespective of the current economic turbulence. With a portfolio valued in excess of £250m across all sectors, Ashfield Land has established positive and lasting relationships based on trust. It has offices in Bristol, Glasgow and Birmingham and will consider acquiring sites and properties throughout the UK in all sectors. For more information visit www.ashfieldland.co.uk.