Innovative housing pilot breathes new life into run-down garages

12 November 2021

Derelict garages in Chadwell St Mary have been transformed into habitable residential bungalows benefiting Thurrock families who have health or mobility problems.

At a red ribbon event on Saturday 30 October, Cllr Luke Spillman, Cabinet Member for Housing, announced that the keys to the two single-storey council properties will soon be handed over in the final phase of the HUSK development pilot at Defoe Parade.

Thurrock Council worked with its repairs contractor Mears in partnership with HUSK, an innovative patented garage conversion system, on the pioneering project, which redeveloped the site into adapted bungalows fitted within the existing garage brickwork. A feasibility study of the garages was held in autumn 2019, with demolition works starting in February this year.

Cllr Spillman said: “This exciting and innovative solution has transformed garages that were frequently vandalised and fly-tipped at into two fully adapted, contemporary family homes in a very short timeframe.

“I’m delighted that our teams and partners have achieved so much with this successful pilot which residents on our housing register can benefit from and enjoy. We are committed to providing new, high-quality affordable council homes and are considering other similar garage sites with potential for development under this project.”

Lakhvinder Samra, 46, from Grays, will be moving into one of the new properties at Defoe Parade. He said: “My nine-year-old daughter has been asking me and my wife every day when we are moving to our brand new home, she’s really excited.

“This home will be perfect for us as my heart condition and arthritis has meant that the sets of stairs where we are living at the moment have become unmanageable.

“It’s really impressive that they have taken a derelict area and made it into a spacious home. Thank you to everyone within the council who has supported us.”

Gary Luscombe, General Manager for Mears in Thurrock said: “We have been able to transform the space to a liveable place and also contribute to local housing need.

“We are really proud of this achievement, and I am grateful to Mears colleagues and partners who participated in delivering this project for our client Thurrock Council on what has been a fantastic team effort and scheme.”

Russell Edwards, Managing Director of HUSK, said: “HUSK’s patented method of converting existing garage sites into much-needed new bungalows has created a valuable asset from this brownfield site.

“In partnership with Mears and Thurrock Council we have created new affordable homes meeting all the latest regulations and space standards.”

Before and after.