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Northstowe new town gets first modular homes

The Town House homes are the result of a joint venture between the government’s housing agency, Homes England, Sekisui House, one of the world’s biggest home builders, and developer Urban Splash.

The £90m deal will deliver 406 MMC homes in the new development of Inholm in Northstowe. The delivery of the first two homes on-site is an important marker for the joint venture that was formed in 2019. It also reaffirms the government’s commitment to MMC.

Christopher Pincher MP, Housing Minister, said that building homes was a top priority for the government and said the homes would be part of an MMC research project designed to accelerate the work and deliver energy efficient and sustainable homes. The project has been designed to showcase the best MMC innovations and will provide a blueprint for future developments.

Modern neighbourhood

Urban Splash calls Inholm a ‘modern neighbourhood’ with communal landscaped spaces and contemporary MMC homes with high spec interiors. Inholm is a sustainable community on the outskirts of Cambridge, designed with a healthy and well balanced work/lifestyle in mind.

With fibre optic connectivity, electric vehicle charging points and a low carbon footprint, this new neighbourhood is the ideal test bed for these high quality homes. Each one is built off-site in the Urban Splash factory and then carefully transported to their destination where they’re craned into place.

The benefits are obvious. Each home can be constructed to the same high quality, eliminating any mistakes in the manufacturing process. There are fewer disruptions both in construction and delivery, and minimal waste as many of the construction materials are recycled throughout the process.

Urban Splash has been pioneering the concept for some years, delivering high quality MMC homes in Manchester, Salford, Birmingham and North Shields. The Inholm project has given the company an opportunity to extend further south. Delivery director Chris Shaw said the company was looking forward to seeing the way the new community grew and developed as a place to live, work and play.

The Town Houses were manufactured in Alfreton in the East Midlands at the House by Urban Splash factory. Each home requires 67% less energy to build than a standard home built using traditional construction methods and incorporates energy saving features including LED lighting, insulation, super energy efficient windows, heat pump generated hot water and emissions free electric heating.

Joint venture

Homes England is committed to adopting MMC to improve the pace of construction of energy efficient and high quality homes that offer diverse housing stock. Working with smaller developers and homebuilders is critical to delivering that vision.

Gordon More, Chief Investment Officer for Homes England, called the joint venture an ambitious partnership that would oversee the delivery of some 400 MMC homes. This in turn would encourage new entrants to the market to support the creation of sustainable neighbourhoods where they were most needed.

Research study

Inholm is one of the sites involved in a research study into MMC designed to drive innovation in the industry. The study aims to provide in-depth and verifiable data concerning the performance of different types of MMC. In turn this will inform decisions about the uses of emerging construction technology.

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