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05 September 2014

Hoo lives in a house like this

Laing O’Rourke along with a host of leading companies has helped housing and homelessness charity Shelter win £50,000 from the Wolfson Economics Prize 2014, after being named runner up in the prestigious competition.

The competition asked entrants to draw up a plan for a new garden city which is visionary, economically viable and popular.

Prepared in collaboration with PRP Architects, with advice from KPMG LLP, Legal & General and Laing O’Rourke, Shelter’s entry sets out its vision for Stoke Harbour, a new garden city on the Hoo Peninsula, Medway.

The area, like much of England, is feeling the effects of the housing shortage. New polling carried out for the submission showed that in Medway almost 70% of people surveyed think that young people won’t ever be able to buy a home.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Although the prize entries are theoretical, we can’t forget that the housing shortage is a very real problem, which is affecting the people Shelter hears from every day.

“Our vision for Stoke Harbour has proved that it is absolutely possible to build a garden city that is economically robust, politically achievable and popular with local people, providing the affordable homes, jobs and infrastructure that they are crying out for. This model is ready to go, leaving no excuses for politicians not to put it into practice, and move new garden cities from a concept to a reality."

Stephen Trusler, Laing O’Rourke Accommodation Sector Leader, said: “We believe our vision to transform the construction process through the widespread adoption of offsite manufacturing will deliver higher-quality, future-proofed housing and associated infrastructure in shorter time scales, at lower cost, and to the exacting environmental standards required.

"The approach will also create longer-term local employment opportunities to help bridge the current skills gap that exists across our industry through the training and development of a new generation of construction technicians.”

Shelter says its entry proves that politicians can put new measures into place over the next parliament to build more homes and stabilise England’s rollercoaster housing market. Whilst the proposal is theoretical, it is intended to show that it is possible to build a new garden city that will benefit local residents as well as the country as a whole.

The £50,000 prize money will go back into Shelter’s work helping families struggling with poor housing and homelessness, and the charity’s ongoing campaigns to prevent this in the first place.

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