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Monday, February 05, 2007
CASPAR demolished
In a blow to those promoting so-called Modern Methods of Construction, the experimental CASPAR housing in Leeds is being demolished despite being only seven years old. The Joseph Rowntree Trust's award-winning and experimental housing was evacuateda year ago and will be demolished soon as it became potentially unstable in high winds.

Its timber-framed superstructure was completed in only three weeks out of a combination of flatpack and modular parts, and the development was hailed as an exemplar of modern, sustainable housing. The projects failure is a blow to the government's support for cheap prefab building, such as the £60,000 house competition, and plays into the hands of developers who may argue that meeting the government's demands for fast, good quality, affordable housing is uncommercial and courting catastrophe.

However, a second development with the same name was put up in Birmingham, but using different techniques which have proved lasting. The Leeds site has now been sold to a development firm, LifeHomes, which is holding talks with planners to see how much of the "Caspar spirit" can be retained in a rebuilt scheme.

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