Affordable homes project in Wells could be boosted by £150,000 funding

Anne Phillips.

Anne Phillips. - Credit: IAN BURT

Bold plans to transform an historic Wells building into 11 affordable homes for local people could be boosted by £150,000 of funding.

Councillors are being recommended to make the money available at North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) cabinet meeting on Monday.

Homes for Wells, a charity working to tackle a chronic shortage of affordable housing in the town, has planning permission to convert the former Wells Field Studies Centre building, on Polka Road, into 11 new homes.

The charity's chairman Anne Phillips said: 'We have had it estimated that we will need a total of £800,000 for this project and if we get this £150,000 we believe we will be pretty much there, but we are continuing to fund raise to make sure we have enough in reserve.

'It hasn't been approved yet but things are looking positive and we'll have to wait and see what happens.'

An NNDC report to the cabinet recommends approving a contribution to Homes for Wells from the council's Big Society Enabling Fund.

This fund uses council tax from second homes.

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If approved, Homes for Wells would receive £50,000 straight away and two more £50,000 instalments at later dates.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of NNDC, said: 'Wells is a community that feels the number of second homes is having an adverse impact on local people's ability to live and work in the town.

'We are helping this local initiative to achieve positive results and I am particularly pleased we are using second homes money towards these 11 new homes.

'It will help meet our objectives to increase the amount of housing and it will see the conversion of a historic building in Wells for the benefit of local people.'

Wells Field Studies Centre was built in 1838 and was the town's first school.

Mrs Phillips said it is hoped that the conversion will be completed by November next year.