Multi-story new build block of flats.

Ultra-low carbon Kent homes ‘selling quickly’ after social housing provider secures £4.9m funding.

06 Oct 2023 | 2 min

Specialist lender Together agreed a £4.86m facility for a registered social housing provider to create modular apartments at a 250-year-old military barracks.

Affordable housing company St Arthur Homes has bought the 32 ultra-low carbon, Modern Method of Construction (MMC) homes on the hillside on the site of Kitchener Barracks in Chatham, Kent.

The military base, which dates back to 1757, was re-named in 1929 in honour of WWI Field Marshall Herbert Kitchener – later Earl Kitchener – and is one of the oldest military bases in Medway.

Together agreed the multi-million pound loan with for-profit housing provider St Arthur Homes to buy the sustainable factory-made apartments, built by modular construction group TopHat.

More than two thirds of the affordable properties, aimed at first time buyers and available under shared ownership, have already been sold. The remaining apartments attracting a “huge amount” of interest, a spokesperson for St Arthur Homes said.

Alex Bodie, Director of Social Housing at Together, said: “The popularity of this development is not surprising at a time when first time buyers or young couples are crying out for high-quality, affordable places to live.

“We have been St Arthur Homes’ finance partner on four previous schemes and have been consistently impressed with their vision to provide much-needed affordable housing in the areas where they’re most needed.

“Kitchener Barracks is an innovative and sustainable development and we’re proud that our finance has been used to meet St Arthur’s ambitions.”

Positioned on top of the hill with views over the River Medway, Kitchener Barracks is the second oldest military site in the area, it was most recently used as accommodation for the Royal School of Military Engineering.

St Arthur Homes is selling its one-bedroom apartments for between £205,000 and £212,000 and its two-bedroom for between £290,000 and £297,000.

Under the shared ownership scheme, buyers will be able to purchase a percentage of the property while paying rent to the housing association on the remainder of its market value. They will be able to buy a greater share in the future– known as ‘staircasing’ – so that they eventually own the property outright.

Costa Ghioules, Chief Financial Officer at St Arthur Homes, said: “The first tenants have already started moving in and there is a huge amount of interest in the remaining homes, so they are selling quickly”.

“This is the fifth transaction of ours that has been supported by Together, which has provided loans totalling £11.4m for us to deliver 76 shared ownership homes, which are affordable for first time buyers and young families allowing them to take their first steps onto the property ladder.”

Award-winning TopHat’s modular homes are digitally designed and built in the group’s 140,000sqft advanced manufacturing facility in Foston, Derbyshire and they are the greenest new homes being built at scale in the UK today. Ultra-low carbon to build, every apartment benefits from solar power provision and high specification insulation ensuring that they are also low-carbon, low-energy and low-cost to run.

Andrew Shepherd, Managing Director of TopHat said: “We are incredibly proud of the beautiful, green new homes we have built at Kitchener Barracks. Our homes are designed to be exceptionally energy efficient to run to benefit the people living in them as well as looking great inside and out and being ultra-low carbon to build.”