WHEN Lauren Harrison Short moved into a Hugg home at Chapel Riverside in Southampton following the breakdown of her marriage, the last thing she expected to find was love. But the she fell for neighbour Craig Lindley who was also renting there, and the couple now live together in Craig’s Hugg.
The first pop-up housing scheme from Hugg Homes offers 22 high-spec modular mixed tenure homes. Private rents are below local market rates, making them an attractive alternative to over-crowded shared houses.
Lauren (pictured below with Craig), who works as an accountant for a cruise company in the centre of Southampton, needed an affordable place to live after separating from her husband.
She was looking for somewhere convenient and budget-friendly, so when she came across Chapel Riverside she knew straight away that it would be perfect.
‘Since moving into my Hugg, I have turned my life around,’ continues Lauren. ‘I found an affordable place to live, which was an important factor given that I suddenly found myself living alone. The location, price and the fact that it was fully furnished all made it ideal.
‘It is spacious, high quality and a great design and all feels very well put together.
‘I have also just passed all my accountancy exams, and, most excitingly, I unexpectedly found love with Craig. I introduced myself to him in May last year and we met up for a drink with one of our other neighbours. We soon found that we had lots in common and we started dating. Craig is in a similar position, going through a divorce and living in a Hugg because of the great location and the reduced rent.
‘We decided to move in together when the contract on my Hugg came up. We both like the location and particularly love the great community atmosphere that has evolved here. Craig works as a health and safety manager, often commuting up the M3, and has two children who regularly stay over and enjoy sleeping in their bunk beds in the second bedroom.’
Hugg homes are designed as a temporary, rather than a long-term, housing solution, and are erected on land that’s lying dormant while going through the planning process.
‘Affordability is such a buzzword but the costs here are a significant saving on renting elsewhere in the locality,’ says Lauren. ‘We are hoping to live here for the next year to 18 months, which will enable us to build up savings and then buy somewhere on our own. But for now it is perfect. We love our Hugg.’
The pop-up affordable home
Hugg Homes is an innovative temporary solution to local housing needs, brought to the market by housebuilder Inland Homes. It aims to utilise land that’s inactive while awaiting planning consent — a process that can take years — to create pop-up, developments for social and private rent in locations across the South and South East.
These are let in line with local housing allowance, offering low-income households accommodation that doesn’t compromise on quality, space or design.
The developments consist of containerised modular units, which are manufactured to order, and arrive on site kitted out with kitchens, integrated appliances, tiled shower rooms, flooring and electric heating. The homes can be reused and moved easily.
A choice of one, two and three-bed Huggs means they can accommodate single occupants, couples and families, and some are let fully furnished. Each is carefully designed to maximise space. Residents also benefit from secure external storage and parking, and landscaped courtyards and play spaces. Rents start at £656 per month for the Southampton development, and Hugg Homes is working to deliver another 65 units across three new schemes in the next six months.