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Modular village to be built in Northamptonshire

A scheme to create a commuter village in Northamptonshire will see the creation of 47 modular homes in 2019.

The development was almost scrapped when it struggled to gain any support or investors for 18 months, until modular homes provider Project Etopia bought the scheme.

Plans for the site have revealed that the shells of the houses will be constructed in an offsite factory using a four-wall insulated panel system. The parts will then be transported to the site in Priors Hall Park, in the town of Corby.

The scheme intends to build the homes by autumn next year, with groundworks beginning this month and construction set to start in February 2019.

The first four homes are due to be completed by March, with each house taking an estimated six to eight weeks to build.

Previous plans for the development that intended to use more traditional building techniques estimated a longer construction period of two years.

Project Etopia said that even with the incentive of quicker builds, funding for this type of offsite build is difficult to gain, and that property investors “still too often prefer traditional methods of building”.

Project Etopia chief executive Joseph Daniels said: “Old building techniques are exacerbating the housing crisis and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Speaking about how the project struggled to gain funding, he said: “A lack of acceptance for alternative building methods was enough to almost drive this development into the ground.”

He added: ”The challenge has been that the traditional bricks and mortar system is all people know. Up until now, there have been concerns about whether modular homes could be of a high-quality. Thankfully the technology available now means we are over that hump and it is clear the materials and products meet the market requirements.”

Mr Daniels claimed that utilising offsite building would mean decreased costs for homebuyers and a quicker build time.

He said: “Modular building is now so advanced, it is senseless to cling to bricks and mortar, which takes longer to build and is far more expensive.

“With a desperate need for more housing stock around the country, it is vital developers and investors finally let go of preconceptions of modular building.”

The modular village in Corby aims to attract young London commuters to the area with “more affordable” house prices.

The developers estimate that a four-bed home will cost between £320,000 and £350,000.

EU funding was also awarded to the project based on the homes being energy efficient.

The eco-homes will be fitted with a geo-store system which means that they can generate and store their own electricity.

Mr Daniels said: “These are homes people really want to live in and they present huge environmental benefits from being energy neutral to requiring less on-site traffic during the build.”

Quintain’s chief executive Angus Dodd spoke to Construction News last month about the financial risk involved in backing offsite building.

He said: “Someone should be taking that risk and I don’t think it should be the developers; it should be contractors or the government or private equity.”

Mr Dodd also said that a potential skills shortage due to Brexit could mean that more companies would look at modular construction.

He said: “The whole industry is moving in that direction [offsite] anyway”.

Readers' comments (2)

  • what's affordable about those houses. contradicts himself stating build cost is lower for modular and then you see anticipated selling price. Even dick Turpin wore a mask

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  • Saw another article about this guy on another site. He's 26 years old with over 30 directorships. I'm afraid he comes across as a chancer with big ideas.

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