Monday, July 2, 2018

News: Plans to get new prefabs sprouting up in Rotherham

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New methods of off-site construction are set to be used to quickly build 12 bungalows for older people in Rotherham as part a pilot project by Rotherham Council.

Testing alternative modern construction methods, the authority is set to go out to the market to find construction contractors who specialise in elements of off-site construction, ranging from buildings being erected from factory made frames, panels or sections to whole buildings being lowered onto site.

The brief will be left open with a view to getting the widest possible range of options to consider from manufacturing and building companies.

It is proposed that the whole of the scheme is to be funded by the Council. More than £50m of the Housing revenue Account has been identified in the business plan for housing growth over the next five years.

The aim is to help the Council get nearer to its targets for house building in the borough. The overall number of homes in the borough increased by 479 units in the 2017/18 financial year, below the Council's target of 641 units.

Council-owned sites have already been identified at Symonds Avenue, Rawmarsh, Hounsfield Crescent, East Herringthorpe and Hounsfield Road, East Herringthorpe.

The aim is to build 12 new Council bungalows for older people to rent and if the pilot proves to be successful, it could provide a delivery route for many of the other 200-300 small sites in the borough.

Prefabricated houses were built for Rotherham after World War II. One example, the "Tarran" estate at Maltby, was demolished and work is underway at Braithwell Road by Council partner, Wates on 83 properties for sale (pictured, below).

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Cllr. Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Housing at Rotherham Council, said: "The housing industry is recognising the potential offsite manufacturing holds for the housing market. As a modern and efficient council we want to ensure we look at all possible options to deliver inspiring, energy-efficient homes for families across the borough. Our mission is to build better homes and build them in a better way.

"We also want to ensure there are enough affordable homes so families can stay in the borough or to entice new people to move to Rotherham."

The funding for the pilot modern construction homes is expected to come from the Council Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and an application has been made to Sheffield City Region's (SCR's) pilot Housing Fund £500K of grant funding. This is currently being assessed with a view to seeking approval from the Sheffield City Region's Housing Investment Board later this summer.

Colin Blackburn, Assistant Director for Housing Infrastructure and Planning at the Sheffield City Region, said: "There is a national housing shortage across the UK, including here in Sheffield City Region. We welcome the local authority's approach to delivering additional new homes through innovative and efficient ways of building, which will provide high quality, desirable properties in local communities at affordable prices."

Plans are also being presented for Rotherham Council to sell some small sites to local developers to enable the building of a further 22 affordable homes in key areas across the borough.

Arches Housing Association and Johnnie Johnson Housing Association have plans for £3.23m of investment into the borough with grants being sought from Homes England.

If the land sales are agreed, Arches will build fourteen new two-bedroom homes at Hornbeam Close, Flanderwell; Greenwood Crescent, Wickersley; Willow Close, Flanderwell; and Craig Walk, Bramley. New methods of modular construction are also being looked at here.

At Orchard Place in West Melton, Johnnie Johnson has plans for up to eight new two bedroom bungalows.

The total value of the land is £323,000 but the sales are set to be at a much discounted rate totalling £110,000.

Images: Willmott Dixon / Wates

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