An ambitious entrepreneur is seeking to take the market by storm with his first housing development on a site in Corby. At only 26 years, Joseph Daniels from Essex already has 27 directorships under his belt, with one of his ventures, Project Etopia, securing £3 million backing from hedge fund speculator Stanley Fink earlier this year.
Project Etopia aims to build homes from modular kits using structural insulated panels, which would be made in a new factory set to open in Deeside in January. A site at Prior Halls in Corby has already been bought and it will house 47 eco-homes fitted with energy saving and storage technology. The homes incorporate Daikin mechanical ventilation, heat recovery, air purification and solar power as standard.
“Old building techniques are exacerbating the housing crisis and it’s totally unnecessary. Corby is leading the way in showing how villages of the future should be built. Modular building is now so advanced, it is senseless to cling to bricks and mortar, which takes longer to build and is far more expensive,” said Joseph.
Jospeh Daniels plans to start groundwork this month, while construction for the 47 homes, comprised of 31 houses and 16 apartments, will begin in February. By constructing the exterior shell in a factory, costs a lowered. A four-bed house is expected to sell for between £320,000 and £350,000, while new brick and mortar builds in Priors Hall Park cost from £450,000 to £575,000. His target market is young Londoners prepared to put up with an expensive commute in exchange for a foot on the housing ladder.
“With a desperate need for more housing stock around the country, it is vital developers and investors finally let go of preconceptions of modular building. These are homes people really want to live in and they present huge environmental benefits from being energy neutral to requiring less on-site traffic during the build. Commuter villages like this offer younger would-be homeowners the wage benefits of working in the capital but without the high property costs, and Etopia Corby will be a model other councils can follow,” Joseph added.
The factory planned for Deeside has a planned capacity of 2,000 units a year and is co-owned with Istidama, a company run by Christopher Moss and previously called Ecomech Structurally Insulated Panels. Project Etopia also co-owns a production facility at Butterleigh Sawmill near Tiverton with its home build partner Etribus.
The first four homes in Corby are expected to be completed by the end of March, with each unit taking no more than six to eight weeks to build, and the whole scheme completed by autumn 2019.