A disused communal area at a block of flats in Kemp Town has been transformed to create three new council homes, as part of an innovative project by Brighton & Hove City Council.
Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the council’s Housing and New Homes Committee, officially opened the new flats at St James' House in High Street.
The homes, on the ground floor of St James' House, will provide much needed affordable rented accommodation for people on the city’s housing register. They consist of a one bedroom flat, a two bedroom flat and a three bedroom flat. St James' House, a 1960s high rise council-owned building, already has 120 existing flats.
The new flats are the first in a project aiming to convert redundant spaces in council owned properties to provide extra homes – typically on the ground floor of high-rise blocks, such as former caretaker’s rooms or storage areas.
They are in addition to new council homes already being provided under the council’s New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme, which is aiming to build at least 500 new council homes by 2020.
Cllr Meadows said: “We are being creative in how we can provide more council homes, whether it is by converting part of an existing building, or building new homes on pockets of little-used council land.
“These new flats are a great example of how an empty space can be given a completely new lease of life. The communal area at St James’ House had fallen into disuse over the years, now it will be home to three households.”
Work at St James' House has been carried out by the Mears Group, the council’s partnering contractor.
Allen Shaw, Mears Divisional Project Manager, said: “This has been a very exciting and challenging project for us. We were able to convert an old communal space into three habitable flats, making best use of the available space. We are pleased to have been a partner in this project to provide additional homes to meet pressing housing needs in the city.”
Brighton & Hove City Council press office 01273 293033
Mears is the leading social housing repairs and maintenance provider in the UK. Mears provides rapid response and planned maintenance services to local authorities and registered social landlords and delivers 5,000 repairs every day to over 800,000 homes nationwide.
Mears Group is also a leading provider of domiciliary care – bringing the highest standards of care to people and their homes. 19,000 employees work in communities across the country – from inner city estates to remote rural villages.