THE Government is offering £30 million of funding to boost production of modern factory-made homes in the North of England’s so-called ‘construction corridor’.
With an election underway, there’s an inevitable sense of Conservative ministers looking to sweeten the governing party’s prospects in the North, but the money is billed as being part of an existing drive to make our region a world-leader in the creation of low-carbon, modern homes.
According to housing minister, Esther McVey, the funding boost provided by Homes England, will help create jobs and career opportunities by ‘turbo-charging’ the use of modern methods of construction to deliver more homes.
Yorkshire is at the epicentre of this latest funding announcement, with modular housing manufacture ilke Homes the prime beneficiary; production at its Knaresborough factory is expected to increase considerably.
By next year, 2,000 modular homes will roll off ilke Homes’ production line, but this is expected to rise to 5,000 homes a year within the next five years. This would make ilke Homes a top 10 UK housebuilder.
“The North of England has the potential to lead the world in the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building,” McVey said. “An industry that when matured would be worth £40 billion a year and provide up to 80,000 jobs. We need to fully embrace this.
This £30 million investment in ilke Homes is a significant step forwards in the development of the ‘Construction Corridor’ – a new hub in the North that is front and centre of building the homes we need.
“It’s vital we invest in new technology to get Britain building. Homes built using modern methods can be of higher quality, greener and built to last.”
Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at ilke Homes, added: “This deal is testament to the dynamic approach Homes England is taking to address structural issues within our housing and construction industries.
“The funding will bring in further private capital, creating hundreds more skilled jobs allowing us to build more homes more quickly for first-time buyers.
“We want to continue driving efficiency, quality and sustainability within the housebuilding industry and see this as a fantastic signal to others wishing to do the same.”
Homes manufactured in a factory environment are said to be more energy efficient than traditionally built homes not just because of the materials used, but also because of the precision engineering applied as part of the manufacturing process.
The £30 million is being allocated from the Home Building Fund, a £4.5 billion fund delivered Homes England.
Nick Walkley, the agency’s chief executive, said: “Our role is to be bold and take steps to speed up the delivery of homes across the country and there is huge, untapped potential to unleash by creating more capacity in offsite manufacturing.
“Modern methods of construction offer enormous benefits to housebuilding and this deal will have a transformational effect on ilke Homes’ production.”