A company that makes revolutionary modular homes has got off to a flying start after clinching orders for 62 of its zero carbon properties – including some of Anglesey’s first council houses for decades.
The news was revealed during the official opening of the factory of Creating Enterprise Modular Solutions on the Penrhos Industrial Estate in Holyhead by Julie James AM, the Welsh Government Minister for Housing and Local Government.
Work on building the development of four one-bedroom bungalows for older people in the town is due to get underway in August.
The Maes yr Ysgol scheme is next door to the council’s Morawelon housing estate and will offer tenants an option for downsizing, thus releasing much needed family homes.
Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary of housing association Cartrefi Conwy, collaborated closely with the Isle of Anglesey County Council on the design of the timber-framed properties.
Once the panels are built in the factory, they can be erected on site within five to eight days.
The buildings will use high performance insulation to make the homes completely draught free, cutting heat loss to create a home with minimal environmental impact.
The factory employs four carpenters and will provide jobs for four more local people who are currently unemployed, as well as providing work experience for 50 others who are struggling to find jobs.
The venture is believed to be the first of its kind by a social enterprise in Wales.
It was set up in partnership with Norfolk-based Beattie Passive, the UK’s leading manufacturer of advanced passivhaus homes, eco-friendly buildings which can save residents up to 90 per cent in annual energy costs.
Cllr Llinos Medi, the Leader of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, said: “We are providing much-needed housing, whilst ensuring local spend on Anglesey, creating jobs and work experience for unemployed local people.
“The housing needs of every area are changing and having a programme like this ready to start is fantastic.”
Ned Michael, the council’s head of housing, added: “Priority for these bungalows will be given to people living on the Morawelon estate who want to downsize when they don’t fully utilise their current properties to release much needed family homes on the estate.
“It’s a really exciting development and it’s the first of many I hope.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James who said: “We provided Anglesey County Council with over £480,000 of Innovative Housing Programme funding for this fantastic initiative, creating carbon neutral homes for the future and also enabling young people to learn skills for employment.
“It ticks every box you can think of and it is definitely the way forward for Welsh housing, with the local council working in partnership with the registered social housing landlord and the local community.
“I’m really excited by this development and the houses are also really lovely which makes a big difference. They’re so cheap to run which as well will make life more affordable and will help get people out of fuel poverty in quality housing.”
A grant of £175,000 to equip the factory was organised by Andrew Brown, Funding Manager at the National Lottery Community Fund who administers the Coastal Communities Fund in Wales on behalf of Welsh Government.
He said: “What we’re looking for is projects that generate new economic activity and new jobs and this project is a perfect example of that.”
Creating Enterprise, based at the Cartrefi Conwy Business Park, in Mochdre, near Colwyn Bay, was established in 2015.
It also runs an Employment Academy to provide opportunities, training and qualifications for unemployed local people, including Cartrefi Conwy tenants.
Adrian Johnson, the Managing Director of Commercial Services at Cartrefi Conwy, said: “This partnership between Creating Enterprise and Beattie Passive will be giving employment opportunities to people who are furthest from the jobs market .
“The Isle of Anglesey County Council is our first client and these are among the first council houses to be built on Anglesey for decades.
“We have already gathered an order book of 62 homes to be built over the next 12 to 18 months.
“The properties are very advanced in terms of building control standards, exceeding sound-proofing requirements and it has in-built radon gas barriers.
“It’s up to passive standard which means they are going to be the most energy efficient homes you can build in the UK.
“We manufacture the panels in the factory which means they can be erected very quickly on site. No wet trades are required so if there is any bad weather it doesn’t affect us.
“Another real bonus of this product is that it is so flexible and you can build anything from a one bedroom apartment to a five-bedroom house.”
According to Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden, the initiative is part of their £50 million strategy to create 400 new homes over the next four years.
He said: “This product will revolutionise the social housing market in North Wales and Wales beyond.
“We chose Beattie Passive as our partner because of the ethos of encouraging people in the construction industry to build high quality product with a very low carbon footprint is something we share.
“As a social enterprise we actually want to make a profit, and then we recycle that profit for social good which actually bring tenants back into paid employment.”
Ron Beattie, Managing Director of Beattie Passive, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Cartrefi Conwy and Creating Enterprise to deliver Beattie Passive homes in North Wales. We believe they exemplify the values and goals of Beattie Passive and look forward to building upon our partnership.”