Plans approved for UK’s largest factory-built affordable housing scheme

by Michelle Gordon
factory-built housing

Herefordshire Council has approved plans for the UK’s largest factory-built affordable housing scheme, which will deliver 120 homes on a formerly derelict site.

The scheme on College Road on the Holmer Trading Estate is being delivered through a £23m partnership between modular housing company ilke Homes and housing provider, Stonewater, and will deliver 74 affordable rent and 46 shared ownership homes, comprising a mix of one, two, three and four-bedrooms.

The site, which was secured by ilke Homes from the land owners and subsequently bought by Stonewater last year, is the first project ilke Homes had secured under its full development “turnkey”” offering – which involves the housebuilder leading the entire development programme, from site identification and gaining planning consent, through to developing the scheme and finally installing the factory-built homes. It is also the first time ilke Homes has geared up to deliver over 100 homes on a single scheme. 

Matt Crucefix, director of development (South and West) at Stonewater, added: “Tackling the housing crisis requires ambition, innovation and speed of delivery without jeopardising quality, which is why we’re committed to working with our partners to deliver affordable, well-designed homes that our customers and communities can be proud of.

“We’re proud to be building on our strong development pipeline in Herefordshire – an area where we’re currently providing more than 260 new affordable homes – to deliver this progressive development opportunity with ilke Homes.”

All the homes will be manufactured along production lines at ilke Homes’ 250,000 sq. ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire – a facility that is backed by a £30 million investment from the Government’s national housing agency, Homes England. 

Upon completion, all the homes will be available for either affordable rent or shared ownership and underpinned with accreditations from NHBC, the leading home construction warranty and insurance provider.

Thanks to precision-engineering techniques, all homes will achieve at least a ‘B’ Energy Performance Certificate rating and will have increased levels of air tightness.

Factory-built housing can be manufactured in half the time of homes built using traditional construction methods, with fewer defects.  Homes England has been championing modular housing as a solution to speeding up the delivery of affordable housing across the UK. Last year, the Government’s national housing agency announced that housing associations looking to sign deals under the new £11.5 billion Affordable Housing Programme will have to commit to using modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver at least a quarter of their pipelines. 

John Hickman, development director (Midlands and North) at ilke Homes, says: “While the housing market has remained largely insulated from the wider economic downturn that we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19, rapidly rising house prices have meant that affordability levels are at an all-time low.

“Since launching our full development “turnkey” offering, we’ve been able to offer housing associations, councils, investors and developers a solution to housing delivery that provides certainty over construction programmes. We look forward to continuing to work with the forward-thinking housing provider Stonewater to deliver this 100% affordable scheme.”

Read next: SO Modular appoints Rhodri Perkins as new construction manager

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