Our new HUSK housing project to convert disused garage sites into high quality, modern affordable homes has won a prestigious prize at this year’s Constructing Excellence North East awards.
The ‘HUSK’ homes, developed by HUSK UK in partnership with Karbon Homes, won the Innovation award and were also highly commended in the Offsite Project category.
Karbon Homes was the first organisation to trial the new product which has also received praise from its first resident.
Hannah Todd, 66, was the first to move into one of the brand new spacious two-bedroom bungalows at Parkside in Tanfield Lea, Stanley.
Her home was constructed using the shell of a former garage site, with the living space all manufactured off-site and then craned into place to create a single-space affordable dwelling.
Hannah moved into her new home last month and said she is ‘over the moon’ with the quality and standard of the layout and fixtures. The move couldn’t come soon enough as she wanted to move closer to her family and friends for health reasons but also to return to the area after living away for nearly 20 years.
She said: “It’s hard to believe this was a former garage site – and it doesn’t feel like a bungalow because of the high ceilings. It’s all open plan so it gives you that sense of space and the design draws in natural light from all areas. It’s just amazing, when I came to have a look around, it was hard to visualise how it would look with all my personal belongings. It looks even bigger now that the carpets have been fitted and I’ve moved my furniture in.”
Hannah lived in Blackpool for 15 years before moving to a two-bed private rented house in Crook, County Durham. She lived there for four years but as her health deteriorated and her home was no longer suitable for her requirements, she applied for a new home with Karbon Homes.
“There were a number of reasons why I needed to move. My health has deteriorated and my previous home had a downstairs WC which I found difficult to use, especially during the night. All my family and friends live in Stanley so I wanted to be closer to them. My mother is 91-years-old so I wanted to be here to visit and care for her – it’s so much better.
“Living in a bungalow means everything is all on one floor so I am able to get around better and I am hoping my Mam will be able to come and stay with me sometimes. When I started thinking about moving home, my friend told me about these new bungalows but at first, I thought they were private homes – I couldn’t believe they were affordable housing. I know I have only lived here for a month but I feel it has already changed my life.”
Michael Farr, director of development and assets at Karbon Homes, said: “We’re delighted that these brand new homes have already won recognition from the construction industry. It’s deserved recognition for our colleagues and partners at HUSK who have worked so hard on this.
“Karbon’s aim is to provide our residents with a strong foundation for life. By understanding our customers and communities, we are committed to focussing our efforts on their needs and aspirations and building homes of the right type in the right place.
“This is a perfect example of finding an innovative solution to regenerate a brownfield site that was previously undevelopable. By working in partnership with HUSK, we have used an innovative solution to redesign and revitalise a former garage site into high quality, affordable homes for local people. “These are good-sized homes with ample insulation ensuring running costs are kept low and savings are passed onto our customers. Miss Todd is one of our first tenants to move into these new homes and I am pleased to hear she is happy living in her new home."
Russell Edwards, managing director of HUSK – the company behind the innovation said: “Karbon Homes was one of the first organisations to trial this innovative new concept and it’s reassuring to hear the positive impact this has had on their tenants.
“We’re delighted to have been recognised at these awards. Here at HUSK, we have developed a unique proposition for housing associations and local authorities who are unable to develop sites using traditional methods. Our solution not only overcomes an array of planning restrictions but has the ability to transform a former garage site within 12-weeks from start on site to completion.
“It is great to hear the positive feedback from our client and Miss Todd – it’s a win-win situation for all involved.”