Main picture: Example of BoKlok housing. Image BoKlok.
Two hundred factory-built homes could be constructed in Knowle West – after Bristol City Council signed a partnership with a Swedish housing developer this week.
BoKlok, is jointly owned by Skanska and Ikea and specialises in low-cost, sustainable homes.
The site earmarked for the potential new development is on Airport Road – not far from Filwood Green Business Park and the entrance to Creswicke Road. Around 60 of the new builds will be for social rent and shared ownership.
At a cabinet meeting on 1 October, the council agreed to enter a “non-binding Memorandum of Understanding” with BoKlok to deliver new homes in the city over the next five years.
The scheme would be part of Bristol Housing Festival – and subject to planning permission and funding – construction could begin in autumn 2020.
The units would be manufactured off site and completed at the Airport Road location – the first to be built in the city. BoKlok has already constructed 12,000 of these homes across Scandinavia.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “At the festival’s launch a year ago, we said we would invite ideas from all over the world and be imaginative in solving the city’s housing emergency.
“This is exactly what BoKlok will bring with these exciting plans. We are also exploring how Bristol City Council might acquire a number of these new homes as part of our commitment to providing more social housing.”
But there were some concerns raised about the scheme during the meeting from members of the public.
Len Wyatt attended on behalf of Knowle West Future – a group of local residents and organisations looking to take forward the area’s regeneration plan.
He asked the council to consider renegotiating the number of homes planned at the site to 100.
He later told The Knowledge: “… We believe it is critical that if we are to have an increase in the number of people moving into our area – that there is enough retail, community facilities and green spaces in our area for those people to use. Especially if people are less able to travel.
“We are encouraged to hear that the council and BoKlok are going to be involving local people in development of the proposals.”
Oliver Fortune said the council should “stop giving away land which belongs to the people of Bristol to private developers to build on.”
He said: “I call upon you to keep all council-owned land for the construction of council housing only.. .”
And Michelle Teddar said there appeared to have been “no prior consultation with key partners within the local community.”
She said: “…The impact of not consulting within the community at an early stage tends to leaves people feeling somewhat disempowered and alienated and angry…”
Mr Rees said the council would make sure there would be local consultation – but housing delivery was not just a local community issue but a “city issue”.
He said: “…We would expect Boklok and any developer to comply with the community involvement requirements and this ensures they discuss any proposals with the local community and that they use local community knowledge and feedback to make sure the proposals are suitable for the local area…”