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Planning permission received for Legal & General’s major modular homes scheme

Legal & General Modular Homes has announced that it has secured planning consent to deliver 154 homes, using modular construction, at an eight-acre site in Selby, North Yorkshire. 

Legal & General Modular Homes has ambitions to boost its annual housing delivery to 3,000 modular homes a year in 2024, from its factory in the Yorkshire village of Sherburn-in-Elmet, ‘bringing rapid and disruptive change to the construction industry’. 

It says it is designing and manufacturing homes in an innovative way in order to transform the process by which homes are built in the UK. Its delivery pipeline is growing, with 350 homes added so far this year.  

Selby, however, is the first scheme where Legal & General Modular Homes will deliver a full development proposition from buying land, developing the product, achieving planning consent through to delivery.

It says that, with a standardised approach to manufacturing, quality, efficiency and productivity are all driven up while costs are driven down. 

The company says modular construction provide an ‘impactful solution’ to the UK housing crisis, supporting jobs and helping to meet the government’s objective to build more affordable carbon-friendly housing. 

The Selby development is set to provide up to 130 jobs across the supply chain, with Legal & General Modular Homes recruiting a further 50 employees to support the scheme. 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, construction sites across the UK have largely been closed, putting housing targets in doubt and worsening the shortage of homes in the UK. 

However, the modular homes sector has an advantage here. With its controlled factory environment, and the introduction of additional measures to accommodate strict social distancing, last week operatives at Legal & General Modular Homes were able to return safely to the 550,000 sq ft manufacturing facility. 

Design and digital engineering specialists, meanwhile, have been able to work remotely throughout the lockdown period, while 75 employees have now returned to the factory as part of the gradual phasing back of its 250 staff.

Legal & General says the modular manufacturing sector offers many advantages, including multi-skilled employment opportunities and homes that can be delivered in a matter of weeks. 

What does the Selby scheme offer? 

The Portholme Road scheme in Selby will include up to 30% affordable housing and aims to showcase how ‘innovation in the industry can bring a step change to UK residential development’.  

It will be developed on the site of the former Selby civic centre, bringing back into ‘good use’ a site which has remained vacant for the last seven years. 

The masterplan at the site in Selby will incorporate a mix of contemporary terraced houses and low-rise apartments, with easy access to public transport and direct connections to major Yorkshire cities such as Leeds and York.  

The scheme is set to deliver 76 one and two-bedroom apartments, alongside 78 two and three- bedroom houses, catering for buyers across the housing ladder. 

All homes have been designed to achieve the EPC rating A, which is currently only achieved by around 1% of new homes. 

Rosie Toogood, chief executive of Legal & General Modular Homes, said: “Using modular construction, Legal & General will be able to deliver high quality homes at a much faster rate than through traditional construction. In a post Covid-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before.”  

She added: “Our journey to revolutionise the UK’s construction industry is well underway, and planning consent at Portholme Road, Selby is testament to this. This scheme, along with our proposals at Bonnington Walk in Bristol, will showcase the benefits of modular construction. Achieving planning permission for this Selby scheme is a fantastic milestone for the business, and a major achievement for the team, particularly set against the current backdrop.”

Legal & General insists it has focused on recruitment and upskilling its workforce through the launch of its Modular Academy in collaboration with Selby College, developing in-house resources to deliver a full modular development capability from buying land to construction, all the way through to delivery. 

The company says it has continued to invest and progress planning for future developments, even during these unprecedented times. Including Selby, during the last three weeks of lockdown Legal & General has achieved planning approvals for around 650 new homes across five schemes. 

In an attempt to prepare the firm’s housing businesses for a post-Covid resumption of activity across all types of tenure, consents include planning permission for a 270-home later living community at its former Surrey Campus office - which will create around 175 construction jobs per year and up to 80 new permanent jobs once complete.

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