New flats for west Norfolk families under threat of homelessness
Underused town centre office space has been turned into temporary accommodation for couples and families who are homeless or under threat of it.
The West Norfolk council-owned accommodation has previously been used as a night club, and more recently offices, but has remained empty 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 which operates similar schemes in King’s Lynn and across the county.
Council leader Brian Long said: “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.”
The council has set up the 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.
Adrian Lawrence, the council’s portfolio holder for housing, said WNHC hopes to acquire 103 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership over the next three years.
Chair of WNHC Ray Johnson said: “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 at Broadland, said: “Broadland has a strong commitment to tackling homelessness and working with our local authority partners is central to this. Anyone needing advice on homelessness should contact the council’s housing team on 01553 616200.