In 2020, property developer SEPA Ltd received planning permission for 30 affordable semi-detached houses in a village south of Wroughton. The design is now being proposed to be changed in a new outline planning application.
Originally, the application for the development of affordable housing was for relatively standard flat-fronted houses that would be laid out around a curving road. Now, the developer wants to change the design and layout of the properties. The new proposed design is for more modern modular homes.
Located in Langton Park on land next to a former electricity substation, the site is broadly a rectangular patch of land. The application is for a mix of one-bedroom apartments and two and three-bedroom houses. The new application shows the homes in pairs with dark grey and white cladding. There are also sharply gabled roofs and projecting bays on the upper floors.
The design of these homes is the same as those that have been approved for a development of 18 homes on land next door to the site. This development was originally refused but later approved at appeal.
Wroughton Parish Council and some residents had opposed both developments as they are worried about site access. The main route into Langton Park from Wroughton is through Priors Hill, which is a narrow and steep single lane Victorian road. The parish council has also objected to this new outline planning application.
In the Design and Access Statement attached to the application, the developer states that through the use of modular housing, they aim to maximise natural light and usable space and provide high-quality contemporary homes.
The scheme is proposed to exceed future homes standards with highly energy efficient housing. There are also water conversation features proposed within the new application, which would provide low water and energy costs for residents.
What is modular housing?
You may be asking what actually is modular housing. Modular homes are prefabricated properties with sections made in advance in a factory. This is compared to traditionally-build homes, which are assembled piece by piece on-site.
Modular homes are typically cheaper and quicker to build. Despite this, modular housing is still built to a high standard. The materials used are the same as those used for traditional homes. Typically, the cladding and finishing touches are added to the housing once it’s been delivered to the site, which helps to guarantee a great finish.
Modular homes are usually more energy efficient as well. There is less or sometimes even no waste on-sites. This limits the environmental impact involved with on-site construction and also limits the impact on the local area during construction.
One of the downfalls are some people are still put off by buying prefabricated houses, so this can impact resale value. However, this appears to be becoming less of an issue as more people are becoming aware of the benefits of modular housing.
It can also be slightly more difficult to get a mortgage as the mortgage industry considers prefabricated homes as “non-standard construction”. However, there are lenders that offer mortgage deals for these kinds of properties, and the market will likely expand in the coming years. In the meantime, borrowers may have to pay larger deposits or higher interest rates.
Many in the property industry have called on housebuilders and the government to utilise more modern methods of construction, including modular construction. As there is a housing shortage across the UK, embracing modular housing could bring forward more much-needed housing.
The outline planning application for the 30 modular homes in a village south of Wroughton is live. The consultation period ends Tuesday 16 November. Locals can submit comments on the application (S/OUT/21/1634) on Swindon Borough Council’s website. A decision is expected to be made by Tuesday 18 January 2022.
Freelance Property Writer