Published: Tuesday, 5th February 2019
An ambitious scheme to turn underused office space in the town centre into temporary accommodation for couples and families who are, or have been threatened with being, homeless is now complete.
The first tenants should soon be able to benefit from staying in these self-contained units.
The council-owned Broad Street accommodation has previously been used as a night club, and more recently offices, but has remained underused for some years.
The premises were identified as being appropriate for conversion and plans were drawn up to create seven flats for couples and families, two of which have full disabled access. The Broad Street scheme will be managed by Broadland Housing Association who operate similar types of accommodation in King’s Lynn and across the county.
Cllr Brian Long, Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, commented "In our work to prevent homelessness we know that appropriate temporary accommodation can make all the difference to people at a difficult time of their lives. Schemes like Broad Street will help us avoid using bed and breakfast, and other less than suitable alternatives out of the area. It is important that people can avoid too much disruption to family life while they get themselves back on track."
Cllr Adrian Lawrence, borough council cabinet member for housing and community, added: "We are delighted to be working with Broadland Housing Association who we know will offer a great service to tenants."
The borough council has established West Norfolk Housing Co (WNHC) to invest in schemes such as Broad Street. WNHC is a registered provider of social housing and as such can benefit from capital grants from central government for the benefit of the local community.
WNHC will help secure investment in new affordable homes in the borough to meet identified need. The borough council transferred its housing stock in 2006. Changing circumstances, including the need for additional forms of temporary accommodation as well as the need to increase the supply of affordable housing, means the council and WNHC is now actively and directly involved in meeting housing need through the provision of new homes.
Cllr Adrian Lawrence, continued: "As part of its initial business plan WNHC intends to acquire 103 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership over the next 3 years. This investment will help families in west Norfolk be able to rent or buy a great quality new home."
Chair of West Norfolk Housing Co Ray Johnson commented: "I am pleased to see former underused office accommodation transformed into great quality accommodation for such a positive use. I am looking forward to delivering more accommodation in my role in the months and years to come."
Catherine Little, Executive Housing Director of Broadland Housing, said: "Broadland has a strong commitment to tackling homelessness and working with our local authority partners is central to this. I’m delighted that we can provide great management for the much needed temporary accommodation at Broad Street."
Anyone needing advice on housing or homelessness should contact the council Housing Options team by calling 01553 616200.