Murray Grove team of Yorkon and architect Cartwright Pickard to start work in spring on modular scheme to tackle York's housing crisis.
Architect Cartwright Pickard and manufacturer Yorkon are to build 24 prefabricated homes in York this spring in one of the UK's first modular housing schemes outside London.

Cartwright Pickard director James Pickard said the two firms could eventually build up to 300 prefabricated flats in the city.

He said: "This is the first one of the blocks. If it goes down well and residents and the housing association like it, then hopefully we will do more." The result of the planning application is expected this month.

Cartwright Pickard and Yorkon, the team behind the Peabody Trust's award-winning Murray Grove social housing project in Hackney, east London, are working in partnership with York council and housing association Yorkshire Housing on the scheme.

The Cartwright Pickard–Yorkon scheme uses modules that slot into a prefabricated steel frame. The designers say this allows them to complete a project in half the time needed by traditional methods.

The York project was conceived after members of the council visited the Murray Grove scheme last summer.

Dilys Jones, York council's investment and development manager in community services, said if the scheme was successful it could lead to others being commissioned.

She said: "We have a high housing need and high land prices and we are looking to do something a bit different. This meets the Egan agenda and also uses local firm Yorkon." Cartwright Pickard and Yorkon have developed a prototype for a prefabricated school of up to three storeys, which also uses a steel frame.

The London-based architect has plans to design prefabricated housing for volume housebuilder. Talks with Redrow over a prefabricated residential scheme in the capital fell through last year, but Cartwright Pickard is planning to renew talks in 2001.