BOSSES from Yorkon, the pioneering housing firm based in York, have reassured MPs they are not building 1960s-style "pre-fab" homes which will soon become rundown and unwanted.

Keith Blanshard, the firm's director and general manager, was put on the spot by a House of Commons Select Committee investigation into affordable homes. Yorkon, a subsidiary of Portakabin, has already completed the Sixth Avenue apartments project in the city and is hoping to play a key role in government plans to build cheaper housing across the country.

But Labour MP David Clelland said he was concerned the errors of the 1960s - when thousands of pre-fabricated homes were built - would be repeated.

Mr Clelland said he was sure these had looked impressive at the time - but had quickly fallen into poor repair and people were reluctant to live in them. However, Mr Blanshard said Yorkon had learned from the mistakes which had been made in the past.

He told the select committee: "Technology is a lot more sophisticated now than it was in those days."

The Sixth Avenue apartments were built in just a few days. They were manufactured in York and craned on to pre-prepared foundations on a brownfield site.

MPs are investigating whether this could provide the solution to the shortage of affordable homes in areas where first-time buyers are struggling to get a first foot on the property ladder.

Updated: 16:18 Thursday, October 31, 2002