Port Loop homes helping to meet demand crisis
A recent report by the BBC found that the size of the housing supply gap in the UK may be in excess of one million homes. That’s why new neighbourhoods like Port Loop in Birmingham can make all the difference to meeting housing demand across the regions.
On Monday 24 February, the BBC Housing Briefing was launched from Port Loop; citing the development as a prime example of how developers can address demand and offer something that answers the needs of modern day living.
Tom Bloxham, Chairman of Urban Splash, joined Paul Kershaw, one of the first homeowners at Port Loop, to discuss how the neighbourhood is evolving and how the design of the homes, alongside placemaking efforts, modern construction methods and the ability to regenerate a brownfield area, are helping to answer demands of homeowners in Birmingham.
When being interviewed, Tom said: “We’re building lots of new houses, but we’re also working with community groups and transforming the area from what was once a rather grotty place into a great place to live.”
One of the unique aspects of Port Loop is the construction methods used, with some of the new houses built in a factory; helping to speed up the build process and, in turn, meet the high levels of demand.
Tom commented on this build process, saying: “Houses are getting more expensive and no better and so we believe, working with our Japanese partners, Sekisui House, and Places for People, our Joint Venture Partners, that we should industrialise the production of housing; making really beautiful, good houses that add to the existing supply in the UK.”
The housing crisis mentioned in the report isn’t just about the lack of supply however, it also highlights the lack of support, with many under the age of 40 believing they will never own their own home. The partners at Port Loop take this very seriously and, as a response, offer four ways to live at the waterside neighbourhood: buying outright, using the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, securing a home under shared ownership and rental opportunities.
For Paul, choosing Port Loop changed the way he lives. He was struck by the pledges in the Manifesto, including ‘live well by accident’, ‘be green without trying’ and ‘plant everything that doesn’t move’.
Paul summarised: “It’s the ethos, it’s the sense of place, it’s the Manifesto that we bought into.”
In addition to Tom and Paul, the BBC also spoke to the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, Chris Wood, Assistant Director of Research, Policy and Public Affairs at Shelter, Professor John Fender from the University of Birmingham and Kate Warburton from the West Midlands Branch of the National Housing Federation. Each discussed various topics that are central to the BBC’s report, ranging from how homelessness should be tackled, the economics behind the housing crisis and how Birmingham itself is on track to meet the demand for new housing.
Find out more about the BBC Housing Briefing by clicking here or watching the interview above.