A sustainable housing developer is teaming up with a heritage architect to design a new housing development which it hopes to build on an historic site in Southwell.

Gusto Construction, which specialises in homes which meet high energy performance standards, is working with Franklin Ellis Architects on a scheme which could see up to 36 properties built on a site which has been occupied by logistics business Rainbow Nightfreight.

The site is off The Burgage, an attractive green at the heart of Southwell, and was once home to a 19th century correction centre.

Gusto and Franklin Ellis have been consulting both Newark & Sherwood District Council, Southwell Town Council and a number of local groups with an interest in the history and preservation of the town's character before submitting a detailed planning application.

Gusto has been responsible for a number of ground-breaking residential developments which have set new standards in environmental performance, among them Millennium Green at Collingham, where the business is based, and their current Passive solar development in Lincoln called The Edge.

Gusto is led by Chief Executive Steff Wright. He said: "The Rainbow site is a complex one, both because of its previous industrial use and, of course, its heritage and location. So while there is a clear need for new housing within Southwell, we have got to take a sensitive approach to how this is done.

"We have been in discussions with the planning team at Newark & Sherwood District Council for more than a year now, and have already invested a substantial amount of time and money in both consultation and our own archaeological survey of a site which has listed buildings and a long history.

"Southwell is a place where there is a lot of interest in appreciating the town's heritage, and we've also been talking to a number of conservation and heritage groups, such as the Civic Society and the Heritage Trust, so that we can factor their views into the approach we are taking to development.

"We hope to be submitting a planning application soon, and we'll be discussing that with Southwell Town Council this week."

A public consultation about the plans will take place at the offices of Southwell Town Council on The Burgage on Wednesday 6th May from 5-7pm.

It is thought that around 36 homes could be built on the site in a development which maintains the listed buildings and respects the footprint of the original house of correction.

Steff Wright added: "If this was a standard town centre development, then a site like this could probably accommodate 50 units. We don't think that's appropriate.

"What we do think is appropriate is combining our own sustainable development credentials with the heritage expertise of Franklin Ellis to create something which is appropriate to the site but offers cutting-edge environmental performance alongside sensitive but progressive design."

Franklin Ellis, of Nottingham, is known as a specialist heritage and conservation architect, and has worked on the designs of a number of sensitive historical projects. One of its founding partners, David Franklin, is a direct descendant of the famous Victorian Gothic revival architect Augustus Pugin.

Joe Taylor, Associate Partner at Franklin Ellis, said: "This is a project we've been delighted to get involved in. The Burgage is one of the most pleasant parts of Southwell and we have an opportunity here to bring forward a scheme which not only provides some much-needed new housing but also appreciates the heritage of the site.

"We'll be bringing what is currently a derelict site back into use in a sensitive way while creating a range of high-quality housing. This will involve converting some of the existing buildings on the site as apartments while also building a range of new detached and semi-detached properties."

Once consultation is complete, it is expected that Gusto will make a full planning application to Newark & Sherwood District Council. If permission is granted, work on the development could begin in the latter part of 2015