New homes plan to replace derelict garages across West Midlands

Derelict garage sites across Walsall in the West Midlands could soon be transformed into new and energy efficient housing developments, after social landlord ‘whg’ revealed its modular homes vision.

UK Construction Week writes:

Social landlord whg currently houses over 40,000 people in 21,000 properties, across 18 local authority areas in the Midlands. It has identified more than 200 unused sites in Walsall that could be brought back into use as new housing by using innovative technology.

As part of its vision whg will build the homes offsite before transporting them to their final destination and craning them into position. The HA has so far submitted 13 planning applications to Walsall Council, all consisting of three bed semi-detached homes, with more in the pipeline. Five applications have already been approved.

Paul Nicol, Director at whg, said:

“As part of the transfer of housing stock from the council 16 years ago, we inherited a large number of garage sites. Many of these are unused, and attract anti-social behaviour and flytipping.”

“These sites have always been unsuitable to build on due to access problems, and the cost of building houses in such low quantities using traditional construction methods. By building houses offsite we are able to overcome these barriers, and create high quality, energy efficient homes that can be simply dropped into position with minimal disruption.”

“These new homes will help transform neighbourhoods and address the shortage of affordable family homes in the borough by using brownfield sites.”

Building the homes offsite allows whg to build homes at a greater pace, with reduced costs, helping it reach its target of constructing around 3,000 new homes in the next five years. whg is exploring the potential of modular homes after it was awarded a £750,000 grant from Innovate UK to fund a two year research and development project into offsite housing construction.

Working in collaboration with industry experts, whg is developing a prototype that can be rolled out across its new development sites. The homes will be designed as lifetime homes which can be adapted to suit the needs of different generations and lifestyles. Their innovative construction technique means they will be cheap to heat, which will help tackle fuel poverty.

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