Boris Johnson has voiced his support for a portable housing prototype to help solve the affordable housing crisis in London.
The Mayor of London visited the prototype at the YMCA in Wimbledon to meet Shantae Whyte, a YMCA resident who has lived in the Y:Cube for a week.
He said: “I think it’s lovely. I think it’s terrific. The tenant is thrilled with it and that’s the most important thing for me.”
The Y:Cube is a 280 sq ft house containing a bedroom, kitchen/living room and bathroom.
Each unit costs £30,000 to build and will be let for £140 a week - 65 per cent lower than the market rate.
Mr Johnson said: “This is a very interesting idea. We’re talking to the YMCA about how to do this and we’re very happy to help, but the big mission is building hundreds of thousands more houses.
“It’s so robust, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t around for a very long time.”
The houses can stand alone, or be stacked to create bigger housing blocks, the first of which could appear in Mitcham by the end of the year.
The Mayor said he is optimistic about achieving his target of building 400,000 more affordable homes in the capital after a meeting with his “housing people” earlier this afternoon.
His visit comes as average house prices in the area have soared to £617,000, forcing public service workers evicted from homes owned by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) out of the borough.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m very confident that we will be able to find them fantastic accommodation elsewhere, not necessarily in one of these, but elsewhere.”
The YMCA has halted plans to build its own block of flats as part of a controversial redevelopment of the site, which included a 24-storey tower.
"Living here was lovely": Y:Cube resident Shantae Whyte
Richard James, chief executive of YMCA London South West, said: “We’ll listen to local needs and to what local people have said and we don’t have a specific proposal for that.
“We’re working on the numbers and focusing on housing need and how we can respond through this housing scheme in Mitcham and for Merton this is great.”
Mr Johnson said: “I think you’ve got to be careful about where you put very tall buildings and you wouldn’t want to do it if it was out of keeping with the area."