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First-of-its-kind modular scheme will support people in St Helens who have experienced homelessness

A Manchester-based architects’ firm has helped to deliver an innovative development of sustainable, factory-built homes specifically designed for people moving on from homelessness.

BTP architects partnered with off-site homes specialist OSCO Homes on the £1.6m, 12-home scheme in St Helens for social landlord, Torus.

The scheme uniquely combines modular build techniques, a ‘no gas’ thermaskirt heating system and other energy-saving initiatives such as Solar PV making it a ‘national first’.

‘Egerton Street’ comprises eight apartments and four bungalows and will be offered as specialist supported accommodation for people who are building a thriving life after homelessness.  Some of the homes have been designed for people who have a disability or are aged over 55 responding to a lack of specialist housing in the area.

All of the project’s partners have a strong sense of social purpose, which was demonstrated in the creation of employment and skills opportunities for ex-offenders who are typically excluded from the employment market and yet have much to offer.

Manuel Atkinson, Director at BTP Architects, said;

“It has been a real privilege to design this ambitious project and see it come to fruition in St Helens.

“Torus’ brief to provide state-of-the-art sustainable homes that will have a real impact on people’s lives was the sort of project our team relishes taking on.

“It was a unique site with barriers to overcome including ground contamination, drainage and noise from adjacent industrial units, but the team came up with workable solutions at every step to deliver the high-quality homes we see today.

“This partnership approach between BTP, OSCO and Torus has been a real success story in terms of effective modular build solutions being used to create thriving communities.”

The project marked Torus’ third modular housing development in St Helens. The first residents have already started settling into Egerton Street.

Gwen Beeken, Director at OSCO Homes continued:

“It has been great to work with Torus again on such an important scheme for the local community. Utilising our factory built panelised system, we are proud that the homes we provide are low cost to live in, by being both well insulated and more airtight than traditional construction.”

The project was funded by the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) ‘Move On’ fund.

Colin Lafferty, Senior Development Manager at Torus Developments, added:

“Egerton Street highlights in a fantastic way how effective modular build solutions can be in creating brilliant homes that not only look great but are incredibly energy efficient.

“From the very start, we wanted to create something that was more than just a building and create a community and home that gave residents the chance to thrive.

“I’m extremely proud of the supportive community we have been able to build. As a developer, we believe that great homes are central to building strong communities and Egerton Street shows just how important it is to work with organisations like BTP that share those values.”

The scheme has been nominated for the Sustainability & Social Impact Award at the prestigious Insider Liverpool City Region Property Awards, held in Liverpool in October 2023.