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Premier Modular wins contract to house homeless in High Wycombe

Offsite construction specialist Premier Modular has won a £7.5 million contract for a development of apartments that will provide facilities for homeless people and their families.

The East Yorkshire company has been awarded a contract by Buckinghamshire 7 to provide 58 apartments in the Desborough area of High Wycombe.

This project is being brought forward by a partnership between principal contractor Premier and Claritas Group, set to be completed in 2021 – a much shorter timescale than with traditional build.

The one-bedroom apartments – which will be fully fitted out offsite at Premier’s factory in Brandesburton – will be constructed around a central courtyard to provide amenity space for residents.

Premier Modular wins contract to house homeless in High Wycombe

Designed to enhance the local area and ‘deliver a high standard of environmental performance’, the energy-efficient ‘fast fabric approach’ to the building’s construction will increase the level of insulation, reduce heat loss and air infiltration, and will use roof-mounted solar panels to generate electricity.

Dan Allison, director of Premier Modular, says: “There is an urgent need across the UK for emergency accommodation for people, who, often through no fault of their own, have become homeless. These individuals and families need housing for a short period of time, while a more permanent place is found for them to live.”

“Offsite construction is very well suited to building this type of accommodation. As well as meeting the required standards for quality and sustainability, we can reduce the completion time to deliver new temporary homes more quickly for people on emergency housing waiting lists.”

Cllr John Chilver, cabinet member for property and assets for Buckinghamshire Council, comments: “This project will increase the number of temporary homes in High Wycombe by 65%, enabling us to meet the growing local need and provide a much better living environment for families who need our help. The new accommodation will also bring people closer to local amenities, such as transport facilities, GP surgeries and schools as well as other support services.”

Last week, we covered another Premier modular project in Barking, along with other green-lit developments.

In related news, the first batch of modular homes designed as accommodation for homeless Londoners has been assembled on a test site in Tower Hamlets. The pilot scheme, delivered by London Councils and City Hall, is using prototype units belonging to PLACE (the Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise), a not-for-profit company established by London boroughs to provide high-quality temporary accommodation for homeless families.

The initiative is supported by £11 million of funding from the Mayor of London and represents the first collaboration between UK local authorities purchasing modular housing for this purpose.

The modular homes will be placed on vacant ‘meanwhile’ sites – known as land earmarked for development in the long-term, which would otherwise remain underused for at least the next seven years.  

After the successful assembly of the prototypes on the Tower Hamlets test site, PLACE is collaborating with participating boroughs to confirm sites and accommodate homeless households within the next year.

Tower Hamlets and several other boroughs are exploring suitable locations and PLACE aims to supply 200 homes across the capital by February 2022.

“This is a fantastic initiative to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society for which London Councils, City Hall and PLACE should be commended,” Rory O’Hagan, director at Assael Architecture, said.

“As we seek to recover from the long-term economic impact of Covid, this prototype demonstrates how modular construction can deliver much-needed new homes, quickly and at scale, across the country.”

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