31 MAR 2021


Herefordshire Council has approved plans for a development that will see the delivery of 120 factory-built affordable homes – one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

The scheme is being delivered through a £23m partnership between modular housing company ilke Homes and housing provider Stonewater. 

Supported by Homes England, the formerly derelict site on the Holmer trading estate has now been cleared and will be transformed to tackle the local growing demand for affordable housing with works set to commence in April. 

The site, which was secured by ilke Homes from the land owners and subsequently bought by Stonewater last year, is the first project ilke Homes had secured under its full development “turnkey” offering – which involves the housebuilder leading the entire development programme, from site identification and gaining planning consent, through to developing the scheme and finally installing the factory-built homes.

The planning and site start milestone also marks the first time ilke Homes has geared up to deliver over 100 homes on a single scheme. 

The planned development is set to deliver 74 affordable rent and 46 shared ownership homes, comprising a mix of one, two, three and four-bedrooms.

All the homes being delivered at the former Holmer trading estate will be manufactured along production lines at ilke Homes 250,000 sq. ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire – a facility that is backed by a £30m investment from the UK government’s national housing agency, Homes England. 

Upon completion, all the homes will be available for either affordable rent or shared ownership and underpinned with accreditations from NHBC, the leading home construction warranty and insurance provider.

Affordable housing delivery in England climbed 22% to 57,485 in 2018/19, according to the figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. However, there is a national housing waiting list of more than 1.1m households, according to homelessness charity Shelter, underlining the need for more affordable homes.

Thanks to precision-engineering techniques, the homes being delivered will be some of the UK’s most energy-efficient. All homes will achieve at least a ‘B’ Energy Performance Certificate rating, making them more energy-efficient than 92% of the UK’s housing stock. 

Homes manufactured in a factory can be built in half the time of those built using traditional construction, and building homes in factories will be crucial to quickly upscaling the delivery of affordable housing, as the UK looks to kickstart the construction industry’s recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Homes England has been championing modular housing as a solution to speeding up the delivery of affordable housing across the UK, with the government’s national housing agency announcing last year that housing associations looking to sign deals under the new £11.5bn Affordable Housing Programme will have to commit to using modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver at least a quarter of their pipelines. 

John Hickman, development director (Midlands and North) at ilke Homes, said: “While the housing market has remained largely insulated from the wider economic downturn that we’ve seen as a result of Covid-19, rapidly rising house prices have meant that affordability levels are at an all-time low. 

“Since launching our full development “turnkey” offering, we’ve been able to offer housing associations, councils, investors and developers a solution to housing delivery that provides certainty over construction programmes. We look forward to continuing to work with the forward-thinking housing provider Stonewater to deliver this 100% affordable scheme.”

Matt Crucefix, director of development (South and West) at Stonewater, said: “Tackling the housing crisis requires ambition, innovation and speed of delivery without jeopardising quality, which is why we’re committed to working with our partners to deliver affordable, well-designed homes that our customers and communities can be proud of.”


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