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Work to begin on innovative homeless accommodation made from shipping containers

New temporary accommodation made from shipping containers will soon offer innovative high quality living for homeless families in Cardiff.

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The 13 new homes will be built on the former PDSA site in Bute Street, owned by Cardiff Council, and will provide temporary accommodation for families until a more permanent suitable housing solution can be found.

The scheme is jointly funded by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme.  Work is due to start on the site in May, with Cadwyn Housing Association developing the scheme on behalf of Cardiff Council and working alongside Tony King Architects, Willis Construction and Lion Containers.


There will be seven two-bedroom homes, comprising of a 40ft and a 20ft container, and six one-bedroom homes, made from a 40ft container.

CGI: Kids Bedroom

They will all be constructed to the same building standards and specification as traditionally constructed affordable housing. They will have the same comforts of a conventional home to support the health and wellbeing of residents and will be sensitively and intelligently designed to maximise the use of space.

CGI: Living Room

Each will benefit from solar PV with the benefits fed back directly to residents, a sprinkler system, and private and communal amenity space for residents to enjoy. The two-bed units will have direct access to a fenced garden so children have a safe space to play and the first-floor one-bed units will all have a roof terrace and a front door.

CGI: Main Bedroom

The build is expected to take 20 weeks, a fraction of the time it would take to provide 13 traditionally constructed new homes. They have been designed so they can be moved easily to an alternative location in the future, either all together or in smaller groups to different sites.

Site preparation works are due to start this month (May), with the delivery of the containers scheduled for June.

Cadwyn Housing’s Chief Executive Kath Palmer said: “We need to find new ways of providing safe and secure accommodation for our homeless families in Cardiff and this project provides much needed temporary housing whilst a longer term housing solution can be found.”

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “The Council is always looking at new and innovative ways we can deliver more affordable housing for the city and these shipping containers provide us with a cost-effective solution to providing homes for those in need in the city. We’re also delivering eight homes for homeless families within the ground of Greenfarm hostel in Ely.

“The energy-efficient homes provide us with a greater level of flexibility compared to traditional builds as we can respond to changing demand by relocating and reusing the units elsewhere.  I’m delighted that the start of work is imminent and look forward to seeing the new homes in the near future.”

Local people will even have the opportunity to get involved in the construction of the houses with Cadwyn and Willis working with Into Work Services and community organisations to provide local people with a 10-week supervised construction training programme with responsibility for fitting out a complete container.

Cadwyn has also worked closely with St Marys The Virgin C.I.W. Primary school during the design process, and some of the creative artwork is available to view on the project hoarding that has been erected around the site.