Dawlish councillor raises prospect of using modular homes for social housing schemes

By Ollie Heptinstall - Local Democracy Reporter

22nd Sep 2022 | Local News

Impression of the Zed Pods development at St Andrews Estate, Cullompton (Planning documents). Inset: Cllr Martin Wrigley (TDC)
Impression of the Zed Pods development at St Andrews Estate, Cullompton (Planning documents). Inset: Cllr Martin Wrigley (TDC)

Teignbridge is looking into modular housing as a potential way of providing more social housing in the area, the council's housing chief has revealed.

Unlike traditional properties, modular homes are factory-built before being transported to site where they are installed and connected to services. Newer versions are often eco-friendly with low running costs.

Mid Devon District Council has been an early adopter. Two developments of socially rented flats totalling 14 homes are currently being made for locations in Tiverton and Cullompton, with more likely to follow.

Teignbridge is building council housing again for the first time in 25 years. The first two projects were completed earlier in the year with several more now in the pipeline as part of the 'Teignbridge 100' scheme.

Asked whether they could include modular schemes in the future, Councillor Martin Wrigley (Lib Dem, Dawlish North East), portfolio holder for housing, said the authority is "looking at one right now, and one of the next [developments] may very well involve modular homes."

While he was unable to provide more details with discussions still ongoing, Cllr Wrigley added: "There are places where they are totally appropriate and there are places where they're not so good, but we were looking at the Mid Devon sites and we looked at some up in Bristol as well.

"I was delighted to see that the homes in Bristol I think were quoted as generating from their solar panels 104 per cent of the electricity that the homes used, so they were actually generating to the grid and had a zero-energy bill which has got be a good thing in this current time."

He went on to say: "They are quicker to build on site, there's less disruption and it's easier to build within a factory environment [with] the precise fittings, so you've got all of the inbuilt heating, the insulation … without it being exposed to the wind and the rain as they're being built."

Modular homes have previously been praised by East Devon MP Simon Jupp.

Speaking to the BBC's Politics South West last year, he said: "I've been inside several modular homes. They're awesome. I would very happily live in one and they're a cheaper way…. to actually provide affordable housing on both rent and when you come to buy it."

Mr Jupp, a Conservative MP since 2019, added they are "a much cheaper of producing and building a house. Bricks and mortar takes time and costs money. Modular housing is a heck of a lot cheaper, and the government is actually looking at ways to support modular housing across the country."

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