The Wrekin Housing Trust successfully trials prototype for Urban Bungalow

The Wrekin Housing Trust successfully trials prototype for Urban Bungalow

Housing association, The Wrekin Housing Trust — one of the largest social housing providers in the West Midlands with close to 12,000 homes for rent in and around Telford, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Wolverhampton — has completed a successful trial with the Westport beach hut from Willerby Lifestyle.

Usually aimed at large holiday parks, Willerby agreed the Trust could take one Westport unit, which also acts as a prototype for its newly launched concept home — the Urban Bungalow (pictured above), for few months’ trial period for residents to try it for themselves.

The bungalow, which comes complete with all fixtures, fittings, and furnishings, was installed at the Trust’s head office in Telford and made ready for its first visitors in just one day. As part of the trial period, the Trust has been asking staff and residents to give their opinions on the concept bungalow and has invited a number of other local authorities to view the Westport.

The two-bedroom single-storey accommodation unit, which is finished to a high quality, provides a light, bright and spacious home for a family of up to five. As well as two separate bedrooms and a family bathroom, the Westport also provides a modern, open plan living, kitchen and dining area. With its pitched roof to let in as much light as possible and beach theming, it is designed to feel like a luxury and inviting home.

Fully compliant with building regulations and TRADA Q-Mark certified, the Westport and Urban Bungalow are both guaranteed to last for at least 60 years and are easy to maintain, making them ideal for a housing association with a large housing stock to manage.

Wayne Gethings, The Wrekin Housing Trust’s managing director, commented: “Not only are these pods cost efficient but they also cut down on our build time — they’re up, fully kitted out, in a matter of hours.

“It is predicted that 27,500 homes will be needed across Shropshire before 2026. There is also high demand for bungalows as there will be 100,000 people over 65 in Shropshire by 2030, accounting for 30% of the population. My hope is that homes like this might be a way of addressing the need for more affordable housing in the immediate term.

“We’ve had great feedback from staff, residents and local authorities; one of our tenant board members stayed the night in bungalow recently, and loved it — it has everything you need in a  new home. We’re now assessing suitable brownfield and infill sites which we can utilise and look forward to being the first housing association in the country to offer the Urban Bungalow as part of our accommodation portfolio.”

Phil Parks, Willerby Innovations’ lead commercial manager, added: “This is the first time we’ve run a trial like this for a housing association and it’s fantastic to hear it’s been such a success and demonstrates the versatility of our range. It has been great to hear such positive feedback from the Trust and its residents and we look forward to working closely with the trust and other housing associations in the future.”

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