First factory-built homes installed at College Road

The first factory-built homes for Stonewater’s development in Hereford have been craned into place this month (July).

The scheme, which sits on College Road, is being delivered through a £23 million partnership with ilke Homes.

Supported by Homes England, the formerly derelict site on the Holmer Trading Estate is being transformed to tackle the local growing demand for affordable housing – with work on site set to complete by early 2024.

The site, which was secured by ilke Homes from the landowners and subsequently bought by Stonewater last year, was the first project ilke Homes had secured under its full development “turnkey” offering. This approach 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 planned development is set to deliver 74 affordable rent and 46 shared ownership homes, comprising a mix of one, two, three and four-bedrooms, underpinned with accreditations from NHBC, the leading home construction warranty and insurance provider.

In addition, Stonewater will be providing a high-quality public realm for new and existing residents to enjoy.

There were just 52,100 affordable homes completed in England in 2020-21, representing a 12 percent decrease. 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.

A slowing down in affordable housing completions is being compounded by rapidly rising house prices, which have hit record highs for over five consecutive months. According to Rightmove, prices hit £368,614 this month.

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 percent of the UK’s housing stock.

The energy performance of each home also translates into huge cost savings for Stonewater’s customers, who could save hundreds of pounds on energy bills each year, as it is far cheaper to heat and power one of ilke’s homes compared to a traditionally built due to increased levels of air tightness.

Matt Crucefix, director of development (South and West) at Stonewater, said:

“The journey to net zero in conjunction with tackling the housing and cost-of-living crisis requires ambition and innovation. MMC has an integral role to play with overcoming these challenges – particularly with providing high-quality homes that are energy efficient and therefore more affordable for our customers to manage.

“College Road is our first development with ilke Homes, and it’s been an exciting project to get underway. We’re really proud to see the first eight homes delivered on site and look forward to seeing the rest of the scheme take shape.”

Tom Heathcote, Executive Director of development at ilke Homes, says:

“Skyrocketing house prices, rising energy bills and near double-digital inflation means many households are faced with an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. More now than ever, it is crucial we ramp up the delivery of energy-efficient affordable housing, so it’s great to reach the latest milestone on site.

“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.”

Councillor Ange Tyler, Cabinet Member - Housing, Regulatory Services and Community at Herefordshire Council, commented:

“Delivering genuinely affordable homes for the County of Herefordshire is crucial to support families who would otherwise struggle to start on the housing ladder. It is a key priority of the County Plan to help deliver such homes.

"The fact that the whole site will be delivered at speed through modular house building by ilke homes is a leading example that such development can be achieved to tackle the housing shortage but also help families to live in sustainable homes for the future. The Council looks forward to working with ilke Homes and Stonewater as the site evolves over the next two years.”