Green light for MMC development

Plans for one of Gloucestershire’s first offsite modular housing schemes have been given the go-ahead in Winchcombe.

Housing association and Homes for the South West member, Bromford, has been given permission to redevelop its Abbey View garage site in the town and replace it with six new modular homes. The two-bedroom homes will all be available to rent once completed. The plans were drawn up by GSSArchitecture using Totally Modular’s 2B4P contemporary architectural designs. Each home will be constructed offsite at Totally Modular’s West Midlands factory, which marks the first time this method has been used by Bromford.

Michael Craggs, development and asset management innovation lead at Bromford, said:

“We’re delighted to have got the go-ahead for these new homes in Winchcombe. We’ve been researching modern methods of construction for some time and have been looking for an opportunity to put them into practice. We’ve been working with our partners at Totally Modular and GSSArchitecture as well as Tewkesbury Borough Council to put these plans together.

“These homes will be a first for us, but offsite construction is something we are keen to expand as we increase the number of new homes we build every year. Our goal is to build 12,000 homes by 2028 and by 2023 we want to be incorporating at least 250 homes a year from factories, like these ones we’re building in Winchcombe.

“As well as building homes that are affordable to rent we want them to be affordable to run as well. That’s why we are also including some new technology in these homes that will increase their energy efficiency using solar panels and battery storage system from Pure Drive Energy and Daikin Altherma HPC heating and hot water system, as well as charging points for electric cars. Together these systems are likely to considerably reduce residents’ energy bills.”

The six two-bed homes will be manufactured by Totally Modular at its factory in Cradley Heath and transported 50 miles to the Abbey View site. With foundations in place ahead of arrival, each home is expected to take just hours to install and connect to services.

Totally Modular is a supplier of residential housing solutions constructed using high-integrity modules engineered and built in their own factory facilities.

John Connolly, managing director from Totally Modular said:

“Having worked on this project for the last 3 years and to finally see the planned development crossing the starting line, it will be a big relief to all stakeholders involved. Albeit most forward thinking registered social landlords have an aspiration to introduce a modular offering into their development plans, very few have committed to implementing the model as most prefer to study the process of evolution related to this form of delivery with an expectation of the success and benefits this technology offers before they commit themselves. Fortunately, there are enough pioneers within Bromford that have been prepared to rise above what many individuals perceive as the risks of embracing change and have kept their eye on the goal!

“In a collaborative effort and having overcome the many challenges they have faced, the team have stayed true to the objectives of intending to deliver a superior eco energy efficient housing solution, better, quicker and at cost neutral position when compared against traditional constructional methods. This outcome can only benefit the nation’s need of building more homes for an ever increasing population that will depend on a living environment that offers safe, future proof and socially beneficial features, which in times such as now, will shape the future for generations to come.”  

Gloucester-based architecture studio GSSArchitecture’s plans for the new two storey homes, which will be build opposite the Winchcombe conservation area, reflect and respect the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

Chris Ryder, associate at GSSArchitecture and studio lead for their South West office, said:

“The delivery of affordable housing schemes in local communities is vital to helping people make their first step on the housing ladder, therefore GSS are proud to have the opportunity to work on a project that will be of such great local importance. GSSArchitecture have a great deal of experience with innovative construction methods such as the ones that will be used for this scheme which will allow for these houses to be delivered in a much shorter timeframe, reducing the overall construction costs whilst maintaining a high standard of work.”

Work is expected to start on site in September, with customers expected to move into the new homes in early 2021. The homes form part of Bromford’s development programme which aims to build 1,100 new homes in the year ahead.