‘A huge challenge’ - Empty flats transformed in just seven days to help vulnerable

PUBLISHED: 13:30 03 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:30 03 April 2020

The empty council property at Avenue Mansions on Royal Avenue in Lowestoft has been transformed to accommodate vulnerable people. Picture: East Suffolk Council

The empty council property at Avenue Mansions on Royal Avenue in Lowestoft has been transformed to accommodate vulnerable people. Picture: East Suffolk Council


An empty sheltered housing property has been transformed to help vulnerable people during the continuing coronavirus crisis.

East Suffolk Council has brought the former property in Lowestoft back into use to accommodate those in need during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The property, located at Avenue Mansions on Royal Avenue in Lowestoft, consists of eight flats and had been empty since late last year.

The council said this was due to the property not being suitable to use as sheltered housing.

The water systems had been drained down, while the heating, electrical and fire detection systems had been decommissioned.

But now the property has been transformed in record time to help accommodate the vulnerable during these difficult times.

The council’s repair and maintenance team worked tirelessly with local contractors to bring the property back into use in just seven days.

Richard Kerry, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “In line with the government’s request to councils throughout the country, we are entirely committed to ensuring that everyone has somewhere safe to stay during this unprecedented time and allocating accommodation to those who are particularly vulnerable at this time, such as rough sleepers and those in risk of becoming homeless.

“It was a huge challenge to get these flats to a standard where they could be brought back into use to help with this mission, and the seven-day turnaround is evidence of the effort that everyone involved put in to make it happen.”

The empty property was transformed as water cylinders were installed in all flats, as the heating, lift, electrical and fire detection systems were all reinstated.

All flats underwent safety inspections, deep cleaning and various repairs.

The property was also fitted with the necessary furnishings, cooking facilities and items to ensure they were up to the standard required.

A group of residents used to be housed at the Avenue Mansions retired living scheme, but they had to permanently leave their homes last year to allow an extensive programme of maintenance work to be carried out.

At the time, a council spokesman said: “Avenue Mansions requires a huge range of improvements and, due to its intrusive nature, it would not be safe for residents to remain in the building.”

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