An innovative pilot scheme, which will see the first modular homes built as part of Cardiff Council’s flagship housebuilding programme, has been given the go-ahead by Planning Committee.
The 100% affordable housing project on Crofts Street in Plasnewydd will see nine, two-bedroom homes built for council rent. It is part of the 10-year ‘Cardiff Living’ partnership between national developer Wates Residential and Cardiff Council to deliver around 1,500 homes across the city to help tackle the growing demand for housing. Crofts Street will be the first pilot modular scheme.
Modular housing is designed and manufactured off-site in controlled conditions using the latest technology and construction materials. This innovative method of construction leads to significant benefits including less time on site and high levels of sustainability and energy efficiency.
In Plasnewydd, this means a significantly reduced programme of works on site in addition to reduced site traffic, minimising disruption for existing communities and reducing emissions. All of the homes will boast mechanical and natural ventilation, providing year-round comfort, while annual heating bills are expected to be around 90% less than traditional builds, helping to reduce fuel poverty.
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.
The planning decision comes after the scheme was awarded an Innovative Housing Programme grant, which supports innovation in construction, 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.
As part of the project, 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, Cllr Lynda Thorne, added: “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.
“The advantages of the scheme include reduced energy bills for tenants, helping to combat fuel poverty, while the amount of construction time on site is significantly reduced, which is an obvious benefit for people living in the community around the development.”
John Lewis, Head of Commercial – Buildings + Places, AECOM, said: “The Crofts Street scheme is advancing the development of social and affordable housing, using innovative design to create high-performance residential solutions for people in Cardiff. 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.”