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Welcoming our first hoUSes at Smith’s Dock

January 24th, 2017 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Guy Ackernley

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I was recently on site at Smith’s Dock in North Shields, our joint venture with Places for People, to witness the delivery of the first hoUSes.

It was great to see them in situ in the sunshine; there’ll be 34 of our modular hoUSes there in total, with some incredible views (like this one) of the River Tyne.

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We’re going to be launching the first homes for sale in the Spring, register your interest here.

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Filed under: Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

Getting ready for residents at Irwell Riverside

Friday, January 20th, 2017

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We’re working hard at Irwell Riverside, our site in Manchester just a few hundred metres from Harvey Nichols.

We’ve now completed the groundworks ready for the arrival of our hoUSes; that’s in spite of some harsh January weather!

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We’re now working on the site’s infrastructure ready to welcome our first residents later in the year.

Take a look here to see what’s still available.

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Filed under: Manchester, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

“More hoUSes please…”

December 8th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

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I recently took the Secretary of State for Housing, Gavin Barwell MP, around hoUSe at New Islington.

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Mr Barwell - and representatives from the HCA - joined me onsite so I could show them the work we’d been doing in making modular homes a reality for customers in Manchester.

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It seems he’s a fan as shortly after his visit, Mr Barwell Tweeted to say “more please”; it’s another political endorsement after the former Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, called Urban Splash a ‘prime example’.

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All our hoUSes at New Islington are completed and occupied and we told Mr Barwell all about the next hoUSes we’re creating at Irwell Riverside and Smith’s Dock. Find out more about them by watching our hoUSe video here;  you can watch hoUSe on the BBC News at 10.

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

First hoUSes land at Smith’s Dock

November 30th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Guy Ackernley

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The first hoUSes have been delivered to Smith’s Dock in North Shields where we’re creating a total 34 hoUSes, 80 apartments and many other homes, workspaces, retail spaces and public parks (watch our video here for the full details!).

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The first three modular units arrived on site having travelled up the M1 from our hoUSe factory; they’re now being installed and the landscaping around them complete for occupation next year.

And if you want to see what the completed hoUSes will look like, to quote Blue Peter, here’s some we made earlier in Manchester.

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If you want to register for them and be the first to hear prices and details when we launch them, click here or call our agents Sanderson Young on 0191 580 7999.

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Filed under: Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

YO! Home’s Simon Woodroffe talks to Urban Splash

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

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I’m Lee,  site manager at Irwell Riverside, blogging about our latest staff meeting at Urban Splash.

Urban Splash is a very open and inclusive company; one of the best things we do is run this programme of staff meetings where my colleagues and I hear all about the business and our forthcoming developments.

The most recent meeting was hosted at Stubbs Mill in Manchester. Our brilliant guest speaker was eminent entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe who’s bringing his YO! innovation brand to Manchester in the form of 24 YO! Home apartments at New Islington.

As well as telling us all about YO! Homes, Simon delivered a broader honest and captivating presentation. Like Urban Splash he promotes a personal approach to business; he made me laugh when he said he had been in meetings where he had forgotten what the meeting was about because he was more interested in getting to know the person before the business at hand – so he just kept changing the topic away from business.

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In my day job at Irwell Riverside, I help turn the concept of hoUSe into a physical reality - giving customer the perfect place to live and call home - so I took a lot of the presentation on board. It was inspirational and a great story!

If you want to see similar presentations and business advice from Simon you can find them here.

Filed under: New Islington, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

Anchors down at Smith’s Dock

October 25th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Mark Latham

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30 years after it closed as a shipyard, Smith’s Dock in North Shields has come alive again!

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To mark our launch of site, we invited local residents, dignitaries and business people to join us aboard the Shields Ferry with us for a lunchtime sail around the River Tyne.

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Then we docked our ship by Smith’s Dock, when myself and Mary Parsons of Places for People officially launched the development with speeches and theatrically popping a bottle of champagne.

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It was great to see so many people on board, genuinely interested in what we were planning.

And we were joined by the superb John Grundy, an eminent local historian who had many interesting anecdotes about Smith’s Dock and its former life as a bustling shipyard.

So we’re now back at work on site getting ready for the launch of the first homes there next year. Register now for details…

We’d also love to hear from any businesses, local clubs and individuals with great ideas for the future of Smith’s Dock – whether temporary events, markets, short-term or long-term uses - please get in touch!

Filed under: Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

More coverage for hoUSe

July 8th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

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I’ve really enjoyed reading all of the coverage on hoUSe recently. Blueprint Magazine have just written about the development, focusing on the customer-led design approach which sees them buy space not rooms. The article also cites our long-term aim of hoUSe becoming the ‘designer brand of voume housebuilders’.

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Estates Gazette meanwhile write that ‘next generation modular housing is on the march” and point out that hoUSe was driven by ‘DIY design’ meaning our customers configure and dictate layouts.

Both magazines are out now. Enjoy reading..!

Filed under: Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

hoUSe gets Wired…

June 27th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

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Great to read tech bible Wired’s view on hoUSe. Wired’s known for its dedication to reporting new trends and we’re thrilled our modular family housing is one of them!

Read more in this month’s edition or find out about the new hoUSes we’re selling at Irwell Riverside near Manchester here.

Filed under: New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

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We are very excited that the massive CIH Housing Conference is coming to Manchester and I am pleased to be speaking at the conference too!

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To coincide with it on 30th June, we’re inviting CIH delegates to take a trip to nearby New Islington to come and see our modular hoUSe development; we’re labelling it as ‘Open hoUSe’. It will give delegates the chance to come and see the concept up close; touching and feeling the show hoUSe and seeing the wider regeneration around New Islington.

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We’re offering a shuttle bus to New Islington on the hour every hour from Manchester Central; so either just turn up or email Chris Monkman for an appointment. Or, if you’d like to meet for a coffee at any point during the conference, please email Cathy Cunny who looks after my diary.

Our 2-minute film with George Clarke explaining the concept should whet your appetites until then and you can read more details about the concept here.

Filed under: New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments

Read about our ‘pioneering housing concept’

May 30th, 2016 [ No comments ] [ Add comment ]
by Tom Bloxham MBE

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It’s been great reading about hoUSe in the national press recently. Our modular, family housing concept was covered in depth by The Telegraph and The Sunday Times recently, with the former calling it ‘a pioneering housing concept’.

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Meanwhile, the Sunday Times, who referred to Urban Splash as ‘the developer that rescued decaying mills and warehouses’, visited the first hoUSe site in New Islington, interviewing a purchaser and concluding that hoUSe aims to  ‘turn buyers from passive consumers into architects of their own dream homes.’

Read the full Sunday Times article below…

Bespoke new builds on a budget

Urban Splash is the developer that rescued decaying mills and warehouses, pioneered “loft living” in Britain and transformed industrial wastelands into inner-city property hotspots. Now the Manchester-based firm has a revolutionary plan for the traditional family home — reinventing the Victorian terrace, building it in a factory and allowing buyers to play an active role in the design process.

Described as “the Grand Designs experience on a budget”, Urban Splash’s latest venture — “hoUSe” — aims to turn buyers from passive consumers into the architects of their own dream homes. Whereas owners of period terraces tend to move in and start knocking down walls to suit their needs, hoUSe will allow buyers to configure their home around their lifestyle while it’s still on the drawing board.

Each one will be built and assembled in a factory near Nottingham by SIG Building Systems, 
a company that specialises in timber panel construction, then assembled on site. The whole process takes about four months — compared to six for conventional bricks and mortar.

“Loads of things we buy now are bespoke — everything from cars to trainers,” says Jonathan Falkingham, co-founder and creative director of Urban Splash. “I compare hoUSe with buying a BMW. You specify what you want, then, a couple of months later, it comes off the production line.”

HoUSe buyers can opt for two or three storeys, and can choose to have a garden home (with the living spaces on the ground floor) or a loft (with a living space on the top floor, under an exposed pitched roof). They can decide to go fully open-plan or have more traditional segregated rooms, including up to five bedrooms.

There are various configurations of kitchens, bathrooms, storage, floor coverings and furnishings. And, because the walls are made from wooden panels (covered in a range of protective materials, including magnesia board, sealant and insulation), and those dividing rooms are not supporting walls, owners can easily add rooms as their family expands, or remove them when their offspring move out. In collaboration with architects at Shedkm, Urban Splash has taken pains to keep ceilings lofty and windows large, with pop-out windows — a modern, square version of a bay — on the top floor. The company also offers 1,000 sq ft of living space (or 1,500 sq ft for a three-storey home), compared with the typical 800 sq ft for new-builds.

“We think builders are way behind the curve, because nothing has really changed for 50 years,” Falkingham says. The architect founded Urban Splash with Tom Bloxham, an entrepreneur, in 1993, winning a string of Riba awards before almost going out of business when the housing market collapsed in 2008.

“The recession gave us pause for reflection,” he says. “What we saw was that if you’ve got a lot of money and you want a lovely house, you haven’t got a problem. It’s at the other end of the market where there isn’t much choice. There’s no flexibility, poor specification and a fixation on rooms, not space.”

Prices, inevitably, will depend on location, but the first hoUSe scheme is being built in New Islington, an area just north of Manchester’s city centre that has seen intense regeneration in the past decade. Prices start at £200,000 for a two-storey home, including a garden and parking, and about £300,000 for a three-storey house. So far, 14 of the latter have been completed — and all 43 properties in the development have been sold.

Planning permission has just been granted for a further 34 units at Smith’s Dock, in North Shields, on Tyneside, as well as 72 homes at Irwell Riverside, in Salford. Prices for those developments will be released later this year.

Andy Smith, 29, is just the sort of savvy buyer Urban Splash had in mind when it began working on hoUSe. The fresh-faced entrepreneur moved into his property in New Islington at the beginning of the year and has been busy adapting it to his needs, adding an ensuite wet room alongside his bedroom/office on the third storey.

“I like the size and the fact that you can do what you want with it,” says Smith, founder of From the Fields, the events company behind music festivals such as Kendal Calling and Forgotten Fields. “I looked at older properties, but I couldn’t find anything in my budget — or, if I did, there was a problem with subsidence or something. And there wasn’t the space.”

Smith agrees that there is a gap in the market for people like him, who would like their own home, but aren’t ready to sacrifice their lively urban lifestyle for a conventional suburban new-build. With the assistance of the government’s Help to Buy scheme for first-time purchasers, he could afford the £305,000 asking price. He even had the odd experience of watching his hoUSe being delivered.

“It was amazing,” he recalls. “I happened to be walking past, and I saw the bottom storey being put in position. I popped to a coffee shop, then, on the way back, the whole thing was there.”

It’s tempting to make disparaging comparisons with Ikea flatpacks, but Urban Splash insists that this is to misunderstand the process. “People already make houses like this, but on site,” Falkingham says. “We’re not doing anything radical in that sense — it’s established technology. We’re just building it in a factory. And the production standards are much, much higher than on a site.”

Rather than the Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture, Urban Splash prefers comparisons with Vitra, a Swiss firm that manufactures works by many internationally renowned furniture designers. It’s all part of a long-term vision to become “a sort of designer brand of housebuilding”. For its next “product”, called Mansion House, the company plans to take the Georgian terrace and adapt it for modern living.

“We started out with this really simple proposition — to make well-designed, affordable housing,” Falkingham says. “I don’t think we’re trying to upset the apple cart. We just want to offer something different, because we think there is a demand for it.”

Filed under: Manchester, New Islington, Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash, hoUSe No comments
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