This house in Biscay Road, just off the Fulham Palace Road, was built in 2011 as a prototype on a piece of council owned land. It just took 11 days. This is because it consisted of pre-made panels from a factory off-site. Thus the impact on the local community in terms of noise, dust and traffic movements is kept to a minimum.
The 1,550 square foot family town house costs only £100 per square foot to construct and £145 per square foot fully fitted.
This housing offers high density – it can manage up to 600 habitable rooms per hectare. So this innovation offers another example of how it is possible to have high density but low rise.
It is eco friendly. Using sustainably sourced materials, Rational House is built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 with the ability to reach Level 5. It is capable of zero-carbon performance in larger developments when integrated with communal heat and power systems. The low maintenance design features integrated PV panels and allows for rainwater harvesting and mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR).
I don’t find the design attractive but I am assured that is a matter for planning policy. The techniques could be adjusted to produce something beautiful and traditional in appearance.
Anyway some more of them are due to appear. On Monday the Council is due to approve the following new council homes (using the proceeds from right to buy sales to provide replacements as required by the Government):
- Barclay Close (near Fulham Broadway tube). Six homes.
- Becklow Gardens (just off Askew Road). 13 homes.
- Spring Vale estate in Brook Green. 10 homes.
Some others may well follow.
But why the delay with those listed above? They were all ready to go under the previous Conservative council. The scraps of land had been found – for instance a row of disused scuzzy garages on the Spring Vale estate. (part of the “Hidden Homes” approach pioneered in Wandsworth.) Planning permission had been agreed. Yet Labour delayed the new homes for 14 months for no particular reason. They say they care about those in overcrowding or temporary accommodation but then twiddle their thumbs. The same number of “units”, in the same places, to be built by the same firm. Just over a year later than they could have been. The process takes long enough as it is without gratuitous, needless further delay.
There is it is. Another example of dysfunctional decision making. The council leader refuses to delegate so we get this terrible logjam.
Always sorry to hear about bureaucratic delays like this, But I have passed this house in Biscay Road many times and I have to say its appearance is just not satisfactory for London. It looks like a cheap prefab pastiche of the adjacent Victorian terraces and if I lived next door I would be pretty annoyed about it. By all means let’s use this innovative building technology but there needs to be a step-change improvement in design and finish quality.