IKEA could soon be building British homes after a council in the south of England agreed to work with a developer owned by the flat-pack furnishing giant.
Up to 162 homes in the seaside town of Worthing could be under construction if a deal between the council and Ikea-owned company BoKlok goes ahead.
BoKlok has already built 11,000 factory-built homes throughout Sweden, Finland and Norway.
The homes are said to be priced after calculating how much owners can afford, considering their cost of living.
But the UK expansion would be the first after a scheme in Tyneside was launched in 2007.
BoKlok’s website says: “We are expanding in the UK and are looking for land.
“Do you have a vacant plot that could accommodate a new sustainable neighbourhood?”
BoKlok also distances itself from the flat-packs associated with Ikea: “It is about a high-quality off-site manufacturing process that allows us to assemble them quickly in a safe and sustainable environment, which we know that both employees and customers appreciate.”
The homes are believed to include an Ikea kitchen.
Under BoKlok’s plan, Worthing would get 30 per cent of the homes, which would be used for social housing in areas where the council says there is a shortage of homes and high house price inflation.
Average local house prices are 11 times the average salary, compared with eight times nationally, the council has said.
A report drawn up for Worthing Council indicates that BoKlok plans “a much wider programme of development over the coming years.”
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Council’s executive member for regeneration, told the BBC: “In this current market, it’s extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work to get on the housing market.
“This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town.”
Instead of selling land to the developer, the council would receive the homes, lease the land for 125 years and receive ground rent, which should be about 4 per cent on the value of the land.
This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town.”
Worthing Councillor Kevin Jenkins
The council says this proposal produces 45 homes for its use, rather than 13 if a conventional model has been used.
If the plan goes ahead, building could start by next September and the “first homes dispatched, delivered and erected” in January 2021.
A BoKlok spokesperson said it was a “sustainable, low-cost housing concept … now exploring the UK market for potential sites for BoKlok developments, initially in the south and west of the country”.
“However, we have nothing to confirm at this point in time,” the spokesperson said.
Last year, the furniture retailer started opening smaller stores on the high street in a bid to attract more shoppers.
Meanwhile, an auction website claims Ikea furniture could be worth thousands of pounds in the future.
In the end of last year, Ikea announced it plans to axe 350 jobs in the UK during the next two years.
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