Prefab homes may 'solve' Bristol housing crisis

Pre-fabricated housing
Image caption Prefabs were seen as a solution to Britain's housing shortage after World War II

Pre-fabricated homes could solve Bristol's current housing crisis, the city council has said.

More than 14,000 people are on its waiting list, but only 60 affordable homes are to be built this year.

A report to go before the council suggests prefabs could deliver affordable homes on small brown field sites quickly and cheaply.

Mayor George Ferguson said the city had to be "flexible" about fulfilling its housing needs.

The report will also recommend converting some of the city's empty office blocks into flats.

"I go around this city with my eyes [open] and I keep seeing brilliant places where you could build houses," Mr Ferguson added.

"So I think we should be flexible, rather than being dogmatic about whether they should be pre-fabricated or not.

"And that has a rather different meaning to the wartime pre-fabricated homes to be honest.

"I think there's a lot to be said for that approach. I like the idea of custom-build, self-build.

"All the little twos, threes and fours [bedroom homes] can make up hundreds and we do need to build thousands of new homes in this city."

'Choice of exteriors'

Labour councillor Ron Stone, who has been leading a cross-party working group looking at housing solutions for the city, said prefab homes were also "ecologically sound".

"I went out and met the owner of a business in Hanham that actually does one or two-bedroom homes for £16,000 and six weeks from start to finish," he said.

"You can have solar panelling, you can use rainwater [and] you can have a choice of exteriors. I think that's one of the ways forward on the small sites."

After World War II, Britain had a major housing shortage so the government built thousands of pre-fabricated homes as a solution.

Erected quickly, they were designed to last for 10 years but some are still occupied to this day.

Pre-fabricated housing still exists in some parts of Bristol, for example at the Penrith Gardens estate in Southmead.

All the post-war housing there has been replaced with about 60 modern - but still pre-fabricated - bungalows.

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