Reading is the latest council to go DIY in easing its housing squeeze.
There, the council is starting work on £2m worth of ‘temporary’ modular homes on the site of an old caravan park in the suburb of Caversham.
That buys 28 two-bedroomed units to house homeless families the council would other put up in B&Bs.
Modular units were delivered to a site in Reading this week with the first families expected in as soon as next month.
Three-bedroomed semi-detached houses in the same road have sold for as much as £335,000 this year, with the prefabs costing a fraction of that at an average of just £71,400 each.
According to Reading Council, it costs around £13,000 a year on average to house a family in a bed and breakfast in the town.
The council applied for five years of planning permission for the timber-clad homes that documents describe as temporary.
In 2016, the housing waiting list in Reading topped nearly 23,000, with the average house price at around £250,000 or eight times the average wage and rent cost £200 above the national average.
Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s lead councillor for housing, said: “This development will reduce the number of families requiring emergency accommodation being placed in bed and breakfasts and provide them with a comfortable and well-equipped temporary home.
“Not only will this be much better for the families involved, it will also save the council money in the long run.”
But the homes are not universally welcomed.
A letter from residents of the nearby Caversham Park Village last year accused the council of ‘resurrecting a bad and failed solution of the past’.
- Stock picture of modular homes