Factory-built homes to plug affordability gap caused by new Help to Buy thresholds in Thurrock

LEADING modular housing company ilke Homes has secured its first site in the South East of England – a 15-acre greenfield parcel in Stanford-le-Hope.

The site, located in Thurrock, has detailed planning permission in place for 153 homes, comprising 138 houses and 15 apartments. Once complete, the development will provide the local community with a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes.

All 153 homes being delivered are proposed to be made available for shared ownership or affordable rent. This is important, asrevised price caps for the Government’s Help to Buy equity scheme, which come into force in April 2021, means first-time buyers in Essex can only access the loan if their new-build homes cost less than £437,600. The threshold was previously set at £600,000, meaning many families may be locked out of owning a home big enough for their needs.

Since adding the full turnkey development offering to its business last year, ilke Homes has secured an additional ten sites and added over 1000 plots into its pipeline. This is in addition to the overall business pipeline which includes ‘homes only’ and ‘turnkey’ projects for its partnership clients

Work is anticipated to begin on site in the autumn of 2021, subject to ilke Homes securing planning for minor amends to the approved Reserved Matters.

All homes will be manufactured along production lines at ilke Homes’ 250,000 sq. ft. factory in North Yorkshire. By spring 2022, ilke Homes will begin transporting the energy-efficient, factory-built homes to the site, located on Victoria Road in Stanford-le-Hope.

ilke Homes’ first acquisition in the South East comes just six months after the company announced its regional expansion with the opening of new offices in London, Bristol and Birmingham, and began offering new ‘turnkey’ development solutions to clients – whereby ilke Homes manages the full development process. This has enabled the modular housebuilder to identify and unlock sites via its inhouse development teams, as well as signing major deals with partners across the country.

In November 2020, ilke Homes agreed a £31 million deal with Man GPM, one of the world’s largest asset managers, for the delivery of 227 factory-built affordable homes in Grantham. The deal represented the biggest institutional investment into modular in 2020.

Under current planning laws, local authorities must identify a number of matters before releasing greenbelt land for development, including, but not limited to: the enhancement of biodiversity; the duration of the development; and the degree of activity, such as traffic, that is likely to be generated.

ilke Homes’ accredited method of offsite delivery will help local planners in Stanford-le-Hope meet these requirements. By taking the majority of the build stage offsite ilke Homes is able to typically reduce construction programmes by half. With most of the work due to take place in a factory, there will be an 80 percent reduction in vehicular movements to site, reducing disruption to the local community and the carbon emissions associated with development.

The proposals at Stanford-le-Hope dedicate around 2.6 hectares – about a third of the whole site – to open space, which will serve to enhance the ecological biodiversity of the site and provide a desirable setting for future residents.

Tom Heathcote, executive director of development at ilke Homes, says:

“It’s great to carry ilke Homes’ momentum from 2020 into the New Year with the announcement of our first site acquisition in the South East of England.

“This scheme will demonstrate that offsite manufacturing is capable of delivering beautiful places thanks to flexible designs that can react to different streetscapes and local character. What’s more, due to our accredited method of delivery, we will be able to significantly reduce the carbon emissions produced during the construction programme by reducing time spent on site and vehicular movements in the surrounding communities.”

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