Ealing uses shipping containers to help housing crisis

With more than 250,000 homeless in the UK and the housing crisis always a pressing issue for the Mayor of London, one council has taken measures into its own hands to solve the crisis. The answer? Modular Housing.

The Ealing Council has erected a number of shipping containers to house 80 homeless people in Marston Court, Ealing. Whilst the idea of living in a shipping container does not sound very glamours, with the help of CargoTeck, the modular homes have been fitted with all the essentials and have been compared to chalets and bed and breakfasts. With interior design and household utilities, the homeless are getting the resources they need to live and survive. The containers look similar to the portacabins used by schools and builders as make-shift offices or classrooms.

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The Neighbours Have Complained

Several local residents of the W3 postcode have complained about the recent constructions, specifically what an eyesore they are and how close they are to other residents of Ealing. One resident said that they were promised a new park, trees and shrubbery to replace the disused garages but there isn’t any of that. (Source: The Mirror)

It also raises concerns about unsociable behaviour and in an area where there is already too much of it. But above all, it is the proximity of how close they are to local residents which has attracted criticism and they have argued that it was ‘not like the original plans.’ Neighbours were even more outraged to find out that the site has planning permission to be around for another 10 years – much to their dismay.

The local council have defended themselves, saying that they are the same specification as the original plans. Mark Wiltshire from The Ealing Council explained:

When we put people in bed and breakfast we don’t get the full cost back from the government.

So we are subsidising to the tune of about £7million-a-year. So it’s a much, much cheaper way to deal with this problem.

And the actually living arrangements are much better for people than bed and breakfast.

Future Modular Housing Plans in Ealing

The council continued to say that this, in fact, one of three temporary living areas that they are expanding, according to ITV News. The aim is to provide emergency homes to those struggling to find places to live and the vision is to also include playground areas, bike sheds and a community for all.

The Facts and Figures

  • Marston Court will provide 34 homes which will be used as temporary accommodation for families facing homelessness while more permanent places can be found for them.
  • Modular homes are one of the ways the council are working to “boost the borough’s housing supply and reduce the council’s reliance on bed and breakfast accommodation” which is expensive and not ideal for families.
  • The homes have planning permission for 10 years.
  • The site also features, landscaping, a playground, a laundry room and cycle parking.
  • Previously there were garages on the council-owned site.

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For more information, you can listen to a full interview with BBC Radio’s Vanessa Feltz speaking to the Ealing Council about the site and situation: