More than £1m to be spent to turn Norwich offices into council homes
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More than £1m is to be spent to turn a block of offices into seven council homes.
And council leaders say they are having to look at converting existing buildings because of the demand for homes in the city, with more than 4,000 households on the housing waiting list.
Norwich City Council unanimously agreed to allocate £1.1m to transform its former council offices in Bullard Road, in Catton Grove, into social housing.
If the scheme gets planning permission, it would see the offices turned into five four-bedroom houses and a two-bedroom house.
A separate, two-bedroom bungalow would also be built on the site, specifically for people with disabilities.
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Council leaders say that a recent assessment of the need for homes in Norwich showed an extra 278 'affordable' housing units are needed in the city every year.
And of particular need are homes with four or more bedrooms. The city counil says, in its current stock of nearly 15,000 properties, only 435 have four bedrooms or more.
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The council says the Bullard Road neighbourhood office is no longer needed for office space, with council employees who work there switching to City Hall.
If it all goes ahead, then the work would be done next year by the council-owned Norwich Regeneration Limited and the money will come from City Hall's housing revenue account.
Because that money was not previously allocated for that purpose, the city council had to agree to it at a meeting on Tuesday, November 27.
Gail Harris, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for social housing, said the shortage of homes was of 'great concern'.
She said: 'This illustrates the demand for housing in Norwich and the importance of the council looking at all options and opportunities to build new council homes.
'The new scheme on Bullard Road, along with other new developments across the city, will assist in meeting the demand for affordable and sustainable homes in thriving communities.
'As cabinet member I know much more is needed and the Bullard Road development is one further example, where this administration is making a positive difference to the lives of families in Norwich.'