Your Housing Group, the Warrington-based housing association, has entered into a joint venture with renewable energy business WElink that seeks to deliver 25,000 low carbon homes across the UK within five years. The JV will use pre-fabricated construction methods created by Barcelona Housing Systems to deliver the homes.
A new brand will be created to promote those homes delivered by the JV. YHG is providing land and property management, with construction finance coming from the other parties. The project will see YHG expand its geographic spread beyond the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
WElink is headquartered in Hong Kong, and has offices in Manchester. The company is backed by China’s state-owned National Building Material Group, which as part of the JV agreement has said it will fund the construction of six WElink modular housing factories in the UK. One of the facilities is expected to be in the North West.
Brian Cronin, chief executive of Your Housing Group, described the joint venture as “groundbreaking”, and said: “YHG is committed to providing innovative solutions to address the availability crisis which affects the housing sector in the UK today. This innovation in housing construction also creates new types of employment, develops new building skills, and nurtures apprenticeship opportunities which is good news for local people and businesses.”
A spokesman for the joint venture told Place North West that options are currently being explored both for the first housing sites and for the factory locations, with announcements to be made in the first quarter of 2017.
It is expected that the average house price will be £100,000.
Stephen Haigh, UK chief executive for the JV, said: “Through this joint venture we are leading the transformation of the housing market and are able to address the UK’s housing need head-on, creating an innovative platform to enable the increase in supply of new homes.
“Our announcement is very much about identifying new opportunities and assisting government and other housing associations to achieve their housing aspirations. It is also crucial that we work closely with local authorities to create mixed tenure communities to cement our development model as the solution to their house building and development needs.”
WElink chairman Ajmal Rahman said that with incorporated solar power and energy-efficient design, its developments can operate 75% “off-grid,” helping to address fuel poverty issues.