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Each unit takes around 6 to 8 weeks to build, with the construction of the exterior shell of the homes happening in a factory off-site and being transported to the development

Project Etopia to build modular commuter village

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Nicola Byrne

Modular home builder, Project Etopia, is due to build 31 eco-houses and 16 apartments in Corby, Northamptonshire as part of a £12.7m project.

The town is a popular area with young workers commuting to London, which is over an hour away on the train, and is part of a project to grow the population from 50,000 to 100,000 by the early 2030s.

Groundwork started in December with construction following in February. The first 4 homes are due to be completed by the end of March.

Each unit takes around 6 to 8 weeks to build, with the construction of the exterior shell of the homes happening in a factory off-site and being transported to the development.

As a result, this lowers the cost for the homebuyer. A 4-bed house is expected to sell for between £320,000 and £350,000, whereas new brick and mortar builds in the area cost around £450,000 to £575,000.

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All homes will be fitted with energy saving technology and smart home equipment as standard, with owners able to control the lighting, blinds and more. They will also have a geostore system, allowing them to generate and store their own electricity.

Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, commented: “Old building techniques are exacerbating the housing crisis and it’s totally unnecessary, Corby is leading the way in showing how villages of the future should be built.

“Modular building is now so advanced, it is senseless to cling to bricks and mortar, which takes longer to build and is far more expensive.

“With a desperate need for more housing stock around the country, it is vital developers and investors finally let go of preconceptions of modular building. These are homes people really want to live in and they present huge environmental benefits from being energy neutral to requiring less on-site traffic during the build.

“The reality is these homes have more Internet of Things technology than the average traditional new build and that also plays a role in keeping energy consumption down.

“Commuter villages like this offer younger would-be homeowners the wage benefits of working in the capital but without the high property costs, and Etopia Corby will be a model other councils can follow.”

Project Etopia bought the site after the original scheme became in danger of folding entirely. Plans by community interest company, Electric Corby, started back in 2013 with funding secured from an EU scheme and permission from Corby Council. However, Electric Corby left the project after financial backers failed to materialise.

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