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New homes now ready in Crescent Road

An online meeting was held on Friday 30 July to mark the completion of a project to renovate three empty Council-owned properties and turn them into six self-contained homes for homeless people.

Representatives from local housing organisations and charities along with councillors and Council staff logged on to view a film of the completed scheme in Crescent Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells and to hear from Housing Manager, Jane Lang, and Property Manager, Katie Exon, about how it will help our ongoing work to help those in housing need.

The Crescent Road project began during 2020, when, in response to the Covid crisis we helped over 150 people sleeping rough to come off the streets under the Everyone In initiative.

The Next Steps Accommodation Programme followed on from Everyone In and provided government funding to help people find longer term accommodation so that they did not have to return to rough sleeping. We made an application and in November 2020 we received the news that the bid for Next Steps Accommodation funding was successful.

A planning application was approved and renovation work on the properties began in March this year using the Next Steps Accommodation funding and s106 developer contributions for affordable housing.

Fully furnished with help from local charities

Covid-safety meant that only one worker could be in each room but the project was delivered on time and on budget. Six flats, fully furnished with help from local charities, are now ready to let at social rents. The project also includes an on-site office for a support worker who will help the residents for up to two years to manage their tenancy and work with them to find a permanent home.

Councillor Andy Fairweather Cabinet member for Communities and Wellbeing said:

‘I am really pleased that this gives us more accommodation to be able to help people who would otherwise be rough sleeping. We will continue to work as a Cabinet with council officers to ensure others are helped. It is great that the project was completed in such a timely fashion.’

Energy efficiency

Although speed was of the essence the Council’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral was not ignored and each of the properties is now more energy efficient with an air source heat pump for hot water and internal insulation among the measures installed.

Local workers

During the project local suppliers were used where possible and the main contractor also recruited some of their workforce locally. Another positive outcome of the project is that one young person taken on as a labourer has been retained by the company and will begin an apprenticeship with them in September.

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