Ealing starts work on moving modular homes

Ealing Council has begun work to relocate a set of modular flats from Southwark to Hanwell. The building, which has been purchased from the Hyde Group, will be called Chris Payne House.

It will be sited near existing council properties on Lambourn Close, replacing derelict garages.

The council will modify the existing design to create two five-bedroom family homes, with the rest of the site serving as seven two-bed and seven one-bed flats. The properties, which will all undergo comprehensive refurbishment, will be rented to homeless Ealing residents while they wait for a permanent home.

Construction work is likely to take six to nine months in total, with a view to having the properties ready to live in from spring 2020. Work has now started at the Lambourn Close site, demolishing and tidying the garages and providing alternative parking. Dismantling of the building itself will start in about a month’s time, with the moving of the building to Hanwell likely to take place in the autumn.

The work will also see the installation of solar panels on the roofs of the adjacent buildings on Lambourn Close, which will help achieve the Mayor of London’s zero carbon target by generating sustainably sourced electricity to sell to the National Grid.

Hyde is selling the flats because the land they currently sit on has been earmarked for other development. The flats – purpose built as housing – have been purchased for just £110,000, while a further £2.47 million will be invested in moving, reassembling and renovating them.

The investment will deliver an instant saving of around £125,000 a year for the council by removing the need for expensive bed and breakfast accommodation for the 16 households that move in. Rental income from the properties will total around £214,000 a year, which means that the scheme will pay for itself in just over eight years.

Councillor Peter Mason, lead member for housing, planning and transformation at Ealing Council said: “As every Londoner knows, the housing crisis in the capital is getting increasingly worse, so we’re exploring all options to keep on top of growing demand. These modular buildings will give us 16 extra temporary housing options, offering 16 households which find themselves in the awful position of being homeless a safe, comfortable roof over their heads.

“Moving modular homes is not something that happens often – this is the first demounting and remounting of a modular building in London. The ability to do this is beyond the capability of many councils, so we’re lucky to have the necessary skills to deal with a complex operation like this.

“Reusing perfectly good buildings that would otherwise have been scrapped means we’re getting excellent value on our investment – we would expect it to cost at least £4 million to build the same number of residences from scratch. Ealing has a particular need for more temporary accommodation with at least four bedrooms, so this innovative re-purposing of existing homes will help us bridge the gap.”

James Murray is London’s deputy mayor of housing and residential development. He said: “More council housing is essential to tackling London’s housing crisis, so it’s great to see this innovative project by Ealing Council, which makes excellent use of modern modular flats.”

Simon Vevers, Strategic Asset Management Director at the Hyde Group said: “This is a landmark project to help solve the housing crisis in London and the south east and the first time that modular homes are being moved across London in this way. I am delighted that we have been a part of this unique solution for people who desperately need a home and for me it reaffirms what we can achieve when we all work together. I am looking forward to seeing the homes on the move and then refurbished on site in Ealing.”

AHR has been the architect throughout the lifecycle of this project. WaiLun Ho, director at AHR, said: “This development really demonstrates the major role innovative design-led modular architecture can play in tackling the housing crisis. The flexibility provided by this method of design creates a new level of sustainability and reusability, a benefit that can be shared across multiple stakeholders, from councils to residents. We’re proud this project provides high-quality affordable homes that can be finished in a way that is sympathetic to the area around them.”

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