Urban Splash has finally launched its new modular housing range – hoUSe - as the company announced it had edged back into profit after restructuring its debt
More from: Urban Splash launches kit-of-parts homes
The AJ first reported on proposals for the customisable, two to three-storey family houses designed by ShedKM in March 2012 (AJ 15.03.12).
The homes, which can be given different layouts, will be built on the site of the abandoned Tutti Frutti self-build terrace schemes in New Islington, Manchester.
According to new trading figure rhe company recorded a small profit of £50,000 compared to a £15.4million loss in 2012. Last July Urban Splash sold off 654 flats, including Will Alsop’s Chips apartment block in Manchester to social housing landlord Places for People in a deal worth £77 million and in April refinanced £135million of its existing debts.
Previous story (AJ 15.03.12)
Urban Splash to replace Tutti Frutti with modular family homes
Regeneration expert and urban developer Urban Splash has chosen the former Tutti Frutti site in Manchester for its first foray into mass house building.
The AJ can reveal that Shedkm, which was set up by Urban Splash’s chief executive Jonathan Falkingham, has already won permission for a 44-home scheme on the canalside New Islington plot and construction work on the first eight homes could start in weeks.
The customisable two to three-storey family houses, which can be given different facades and layouts, will replace the much-publicised Tutti Frutti self-build terrace proposals.
Back in 2008, Urban Splash won planning permission for an initial phase of six homes, part of wider plans for 26 plots, each designed by a team of competition-winning architects led by the homeowner. The project stalled when the recession hit, but these new plans could revive the site.
Speaking to the AJ at MIPIM, directors Tom Bloxham and Nick Johnson said the move into housing was partly inspired by the lack of liquidity in the market.
‘You don’t need the full funding in place to build houses, as we would with an [apartment scheme] like Chips. You need the land, but then you can build in phases,’ said Johnson.
Bloxham added that the Manchester-based developer was well-placed to meet a growing gap in the housing market.
He said: ‘80 per cent of people don’t want to buy a new house. That shows how much of a problem there is with the current housing under development.’
Bloxham said if the company moved into housing, its space standards would be more generous than other house builders, and offer unique yet accessible designs. Planning documents show Shedkm has taken a pattern-book approach to the houses.
Urban Splash will be bolstered by news this week that the government is rolling out its mortgage indemnity guarantee scheme, which the industry believes could result in 100,000 extra new home sales. Under the scheme, buyers of new-build properties will only need a down payment of five per cent.
Stephen Chance of Chance de Silva, one of the original architects on the Tutti Frutti scheme, said: ‘It’s no surprise Urban Splash has revised the masterplan. We were pressing for this even at the time of our involvement.
‘[However] from a personal point of view, it seems a shame that they have combined two sites on that peninsular and not offered any opportunity to the people who put such a lot into Tutti Frutti.’
Bloxham responded by saying that the Tutti Frutti model, similar to Amsterdam’s famous Borneo Sporenburg island, was not yet dead and could yet be resurrected elsewhere in New Islington. He said: ‘We are keen to revive Tutti Frutti if there is a demand for it and we do have a potential site nearby.’
The practices chosen to design the initial stages of Tutti Frutti in May 2008 were: FKDA Architects; Studio Verna; Glas Architects; Sheppard Robson; Chance de Silva Architects; and Roberta Haslam and Richard Daw.