Family company play key part in homeless project

Robertsbridge business Paneltech is involved in a project converting shipping containers into housing for Brighton's homeless.
Robertsbridge business Paneltech is involved in a project converting shipping containers into housing for Brighton's homeless.

A FAMILY-run engineering company in Robertsbridge is playing its part in a pioneering project providing containerised housing for the homeless.

Paneltech Systems Ltd, based at Vinehall Business Park in Vinehall Road, joined up with several other agencies to convert shipping containers to be used as housing for homeless people in Brighton.

Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) said the containers will provide temporary homes for five years for 36 men and women.

The container apartments, which will be sited at Richardsons Yard, will be stacked up to five high to take up a smaller footprint.

The units were designed and built in Holland for a social housing project.

But the Amsterdam scheme failed to materialise because of funding difficulties.

Throughout August, September and October, Paneltech has worked closely with QED Asset Management and Reds 10 to turn the containers into homes.

Deborah Lee, financial director of Paneltech, said: “Paneltech manufactured all the Juliette balconies, balconies, walkways, stairs and handrails to bring the complex together.

“The Juliette balconies have been fitted to the container houses on their way to Brighton from Tilbury.

“Whilst at our works, graffiti art was added to two of them.”

The project made national headlines and Paneltech is already looking at taking part in a similar project in London.

Deborah said: “We are pleased to be involved with such a ‘feel good’ project, and are looking forward to the installation and seeing the project completed.

“We are very proud of our team and their achievements throughout the project.

“We are currently looking at a similar scheme with Reds10 in London.”

Paneltech is a family-run engineering company, which employs 10 people, plus two directors, Deborah and John Lee.

All four of the couple’s sons work at the firm, as well as their niece and a daughter-in-law.

The company has been based in Robertsbridge for 13 years and has steadily grown into a successful business offering services in fabrication and welding, panel building and control systems, electrical installation and also bitumen industry-based support, mainly overseas.

For more information about Paneltech, visit www.paneltech-systems.co.uk