Plans for new council homes take step forward

Plans for new council homes take step forward

Two major projects that will provide more than 70 new council homes in the district received a boost earlier this month.

Planning Committee councillors agreed to grant planning permission for 33 homes at Beach Street in Herne Bay – 10 of which will be council housing – and the conversion of a number of student housing blocks off Sturry Road in Canterbury into council homes, which in total will provide 61 units of council housing.

The Beach Street scheme follows the council’s purchase last year of the former Tivoli site in Central Parade and aims to create a high quality development that transforms a tired area of the town.

As well as the housing, it also includes a retail unit on Central Parade, two new workshop/studio spaces and improvements to public areas including surfacing and lighting.

The council has now selected an architect for the detailed design work, and a contractor to build the development will be chosen in the coming weeks. A start is expected on site by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, work is progressing well on the project to convert student housing off Sturry Road into council homes, after the council bought the student blocks in a £23 million investment last year.

Conversion work on some of the more straightforward blocks will be getting underway in the near future, with people expected to move in later this year. Other blocks required planning permission for change of use, and following the Planning Committee decision, the process to secure a contractor for the conversion is underway.

Some of the housing is already being used as temporary accommodation for families who are awaiting an offer of long-term housing from the council.

Head of Business and Regeneration, Caroline Hicks, said: “These are both complex projects that have required a lot of planning behind the scenes, but we’re really pleased with how they are now coming together.

“Everyone recognises there is an urgent need for more council housing and we’re doing all we can to get this accommodation into full use as swiftly as possible.”

In addition, building work will be starting later this year on houses on the corner of Kingsmead Field in Canterbury. Five new homes for local families on the council’s housing waiting list will be built as part of a 16-home development on the part of the field allocated for housing, with the remaining 11 sold on the open market.

Published: 13 May 2019

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