First ever Y:Cube housing block to be built on Merton street after plans approved

The Y:Cube prototype in Wimbledon.

The Y:Cube prototype in Wimbledon.

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Controversial cube houses will be coming to the streets of Merton after plans were given the green light last night.

The striking Y:Cubes will be cropping up on the junction of Woodstock Way and Clay Avenue in Mitcham for YMCA Wimbledon tenants and people in need of temporary housing.

Wimbledon Guardian:

An artists' impression of the development. 

They are 280 sq ft with a bedroom, a joint kitchen and living room, and a bathroom.

Each cube costs £30,000 to build and will be let for £140 a week - 65 per cent lower than the market rate.

Speaking after the decision, Andy Redfearn, YMCA London South West’s director of housing and development, said: “I am very excited and elated it has been approved.

“We are very relieved.”

Wimbledon Guardian:

Andy Redfearn outside the Y:Cube house. 

Plans for 36 housing units stacked in a three-storey block will provide an affordable housing solution to YMCA and social housing tenants in Mitcham and the surrounding area, developers claim.

Debate at the Merton Council planning committee meeting last night raised concerns over their original bright blue and red colour, the size of the 280sq ft apartments and the late notice of the application.

The colours have been since been changed to a more subdued lighter brown, slate grey and pale sand, residents were told last night.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Inside the Y:Cube house

A resident of Woodstock Way who spoke at the meeting said: “I would like to say how disappointed I am with the late notice I was given.

“I received a letter yesterday evening.

“I don’t like it – I am concerned about parking, transport and there are the noise levels and the congestion if people do drive.”

Council planning officer Jonathan Lewis said: “The table of notice was less than ideal.”

He added it was not every day a scheme like this is put in front of the council by such well-renowned architects.

The cube housing has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and is being hailed as an innovative, affordable housing solution which is getting a lot of attention in the industry.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited the prototype in Wimbledon earlier this year and gave it the thumbs up.

At the time 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:Cubes will be built on the site of a community centre demolished in 2004.

Last night’s decision will allow the YMCA to apply for funding from the Greater London Authority.

Comments (2)

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8:46pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Tobermory says...

Why not just build proper homes even at the reduced rent they will still pay for themselves over time and will increase in value every year. Putting people in boxes that hark back to the post war pre-fab buildings is hardly 'innovative'!
Why not just build proper homes even at the reduced rent they will still pay for themselves over time and will increase in value every year. Putting people in boxes that hark back to the post war pre-fab buildings is hardly 'innovative'! Tobermory
  • Score: 1

3:35pm Sat 30 Aug 14

nwaring says...

Dear Becky
I’m pleased to see that the Y:Cubes are coming to Merton.
I take this as a sign that the Council is prepared to facilitate innovative design which tries hard to provide affordable housing where it is needed.
I think the original colour scheme would have brought a sense of fun to the Mitcham project. Much of the Council’s design guidance is about context and “fitting in”.
I wonder if the permitted light brown, slate grey and pale sand, are somehow more responsive to Mitcham, and it will be interesting to see if these more sober colours meets with public approval.
I hope the Wimbledon YMCA site also produces a top class scheme which does not succumb to Surrey-centric Nimby-ism.
Nicholas Waring
Dear Becky I’m pleased to see that the Y:Cubes are coming to Merton. I take this as a sign that the Council is prepared to facilitate innovative design which tries hard to provide affordable housing where it is needed. I think the original colour scheme would have brought a sense of fun to the Mitcham project. Much of the Council’s design guidance is about context and “fitting in”. I wonder if the permitted light brown, slate grey and pale sand, are somehow more responsive to Mitcham, and it will be interesting to see if these more sober colours meets with public approval. I hope the Wimbledon YMCA site also produces a top class scheme which does not succumb to Surrey-centric Nimby-ism. Nicholas Waring nwaring
  • Score: 0
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