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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Freight boxes may solve homes shortage
Container homes
Two containers together can make a comfortable home
Recycled metal cargo containers could plug the housing gap by providing affordable accommodation.

Architects in London are offering the converted cargo holds as cheap apartments, which are easy to build and transport.

Each container costs about 1,000 and two placed side-by-side make a decent sized flat.

Developers predict the cargo conversions will transform the housing market.

Container homes
The homes can be put up almost anywhere
The government plans to build thousands of pre-fabricated houses in the capital so public sector workers are not forced to leave London because of rising house prices.

"You can build them in one place and reliably deliver them, completely water-tight, ready to go, in another," said Eric Reynolds of Urban Spaces Management.

"We should be able to go around and find pockets of land where there is a high housing need, like in the East End of London, and almost literally parachute in accommodation at an affordable price."

The container homes could be put up on spare land in city centres, said James Pichard of architects Cartwright Pickard.

"People's homes will be located near major infrastructure, they could be over railway stations or railway lines," he said.

"People will be located where they need to be."

The homes could meet changes in housing demand, said Dickon Robinson of the Peabody Housing Trust.

"We cannot actually meet the housing demand in London if we try and build houses as we have done in the past," he said.

"There has to be change and innovation if we want to improve the quality of people's homes and build them faster and more cheaply."

See also:

22 Apr 02 | Business
Homes 'to cost 300,000 by 2020'
18 Apr 02 | Business
Property shortage fuels price boom
19 Mar 02 | England
England running out of new homes
06 Mar 02 | England
'Pre-fab' solution to homes crisis
03 Dec 01 | Business
Workers priced out of housing market
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