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Wates gets green light for modular council homes pilot

21 August 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Artist's impression of the Crofts Street development (Image: Wates Residential)

Wates has been given the green light to build nine modular council homes under a pilot scheme that could eventually see 1,500 homes built across Cardiff to tackle the growing demand for housing.

The 100% affordable housing project on Crofts Street in Plasnewydd will see nine two-bedroom homes built for council rent.

They are part of the 10-year ‘Cardiff Living’ partnership between Wates Residential and Cardiff Council to deliver around 1,500 homes across the city.

At the Plaswynedd project, the programme of works on site will be significanrly reduced thanks to the modular build, in addition to reduced site traffic. All of the homes will feature mechanical and natural ventilation, while annual heating bills are expected to be around 90% less than traditional builds. 

The project will be delivered through Wates Residential and Homeshell, a joint venture between architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Aecom. Work on the brownfield site, previously a former laboratory, is expected to start later this year.

It will be partially funded by an Innovative Housing Programme grant, which supports innovation in construction, awarded by the Welsh Government in October 2018. The project has also been reviewed by the Design Commission for Wales.

Across the ‘Cardiff Living’ project, 40% of homes delivered will be council homes available to rent through the existing allocations process or to buy through the council’s Home Assisted Ownership scheme.

Local employment

Wates Residential has also made a joint pledge with Cardiff Council to create employment and training opportunities for local residents, including on-site apprenticeships, work experience placements and structured training programmes.

Edward Rees, regional director for Wates Residential, said: “It’s fantastic to see consent given to this affordable housing project, which is part of our long-term partnership with Cardiff Council. The modular design will increase energy efficiency and shorten our time on site, helping to reduce emissions and disruption for existing residents.

“This is just one of the ways innovative solutions can help tackle growing demand for housing and we look forward to working with the council to deliver more homes over the coming months and years.”

Cabinet member for housing and communities at Cardiff Council, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “The Crofts Street development will provide nine new council homes in the city, and helps us on our way to building 2,000 new council homes, around 600 of which are being delivered through our Cardiff Living partnership with Wates Residential.

“We’re always looking for opportunities and new ways of developing more affordable housing to tackle growing demand in the city and to do so as quickly as possible. This exciting scheme, which will be the first time we have used a highly energy-efficient modular build system, can be delivered in considerably less time than a traditional-build project and has been awarded Welsh Government Innovative Housing Funding.”

John Lewis, head of commercial – buildings + places, Aecom, said: “We’re excited to bring our collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to Cardiff Council, working with Wates Residential to deliver the scheme and show what is possible when applying high-quality, precision engineered, modular techniques to help meet the UK’s acute demand for new housing.”

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