'Eco pioneers' wanted to invest in shipping container home site near Meadowhall in Sheffield

A new community of affordable, environmentally friendly homes built from shipping containers could soon spring up near Meadowhall in Sheffield.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 4th November 2019, 4:03 pm

‘Eco pioneers’ are being sought to invest in a plot with space for 15 homes on Bawtry Road, in Tinsley, as part of a project which it is hoped could change the face of house building in Sheffield and beyond.

The homes would cost from £45,000 for a one-bedroom property to build, it is envisaged, and would have almost zero impact on the environment.

Buyers are being asked to stump up between £5,000 and £10,000 each to secure the land, on what was a privately-owned sports club, and a meeting is being held next week so potential investors can find out more.

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REACH Homes founder Jon Johnson outside a prototype house built from shipping containers at Heeley City Farm (pic: Scott Merrylees)

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The scheme is being launched by REACH Homes, a not-for-profit business founded by former police officer Jon Johnson, who has already built and spent more than a year living in a prototype at Heeley City Farm.

He described it as a great opportunity for people who are struggling to get on the housing ladder and looking for a more affordable, greener alternative to the traditional property market.

“We’re looking for eco pioneers so we can get a group together and set up a community land trust to buy and develop the site with 15 environmentally friendly homes,” he said.

“If we can get enough people on board I’m confident we can get the planning permission we need to do something pretty amazing there.

“This would be the first of many amazing communities we’re hoping to create of like-minded people wanting to take advantage of living in a much more environmentally friendly way.

“It’s a very doable investment for people with a small amount of money who are struggling to get anywhere near the housing ladder.”

As well as using 90 per cent less energy than a traditional home, meaning lower bills, Mr Johnson said the houses would be more customisable than your typical new build, giving buyers a greater say in the design.

Should this project get off the ground, it would pave the way for REACH to set up a factory in Sheffield which could eventually build 600 homes a year for use in Sheffield and across the country, while training young people in sustainable building techniques.

REACH has already been promised a sizeable grant by the Nationwide Foundation, said Mr Johnson, which is dependent on securing the land in Tinsley.

And he told how the firm was in talks with local authorities and housing associations around England, especially in areas where housing is ‘prohibitively expensive’, about supplying eco homes which would be built in Sheffield.

As for the site near Meadowhall, he says it is perfectly placed with good access to public transport and the motorway.

And he says anyone can get involved, from students to pensioners and individuals to families, with a three-bed property expected to cost £85,000-£90,000.

A public meeting about the project will take place at The Broadfield pub on Abbeydale Road next Wednesday, November 13, at 6.45pm.

For more about Reach Homes, visit www.reachhomes.org.