Cornwall Council has entered into a deal to buy SoloHaus ‘micro homes’ from Hill Group in a bid to tackle homelessness and the housing crisis.
A total of 29 self-contained modular one-bedroom homes have arrived in Cornwall and are set to be deployed to sites in the coming months.
The council has bought the homes from Hill Group, based in Waltham Abbey, Essex.
SoloHaus was conceived by Hill Group founder Andy Hill and has been designed to provide self-contained accommodation in a supported environment for homeless individuals.
Cornwall Council joins Cambridge City Council, Ipswich Borough Council, the London Borough of Haringey, and several housing associations in the east of England in using SoloHaus to support those that need it.
‘First batch of many’
Olly Monk, portfolio holder for Housing and Planning at Cornwall Council, said: “This marks a real tipping point in this council’s approach to solving the housing crisis.
“The opportunity to buy these units was only identified at the end of August, and officers have worked extremely hard over a very short period to turn this around.
“These homes are ready to be dropped onto sites and provide top-quality accommodation, with all fixtures and fittings included.
“They are an evolution of the cabin-style emergency accommodation that we have provided in Truro and Camborne and, over time, will remove the need for those type of pods, which we have leased.”
He continued: “Buying and deploying permanent quality modular homes such as these will allow us to put homes in key locations throughout the Duchy.
“This is about us recognising that there are people in our communities that really need our help, and us providing them with an exceptional quality housing solution that can be deployed quickly.
“This is another example of what we’re doing to prevent using insecure B&B-style accommodation for vulnerable people – it’s about treating those people that need our help with dignity and respect.
“Alongside everything else we’re doing – such as buying and refurbishing disused properties, purchasing homes at new developments, and building innovative new ‘move-on’ sites – they will play a vital role in making sure that nobody need sleep rough in Cornwall or have to be housed in unreliable B&B or hotel accommodation.
“I very much hope that this is the first batch of many SoloHaus units for us in Cornwall.”
The homes are built in a factory in Shrewsbury and feature the highest standards of sustainability, efficiency, safety, and durability, according to the developers.
They can be transported on a lorry, and the council will be working with Cormac to deploy the new homes to sites throughout the Duchy.
With a 60-year minimum lifespan and construction warranty, they have been designed with the help of homelessness charities to provide a safe, secure, comfortable, and independent place to stay for people who are homeless or have been homeless in the recent past.
They units are built to a Building Control-approved design and can be used in either a single storey or two-storey arrangement, with minimal groundworks, needing only electric, water, and waste connections.
They have integrated cabling for broadband and TV and a single air-source heat pump provides warmth for six homes.
Andy Hill, group chief executive at Hill, said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting Cornwall Council’s efforts to reduce homelessness at a time of major pressure on the housing market.
“We designed the SoloHaus units to be safe, high-quality homes for some of the most vulnerable people in society, and we hope that Cornwall residents will enjoy living in them.”
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