'A wonderful initiative': Work begins on Norwich affordable flats
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Ground has been broken on a development of four new bungalows and four apartments for the over 60s to rent close to a city park.
Norwich Housing Society, a not-for-profit company which has over 300 affordable homes for over-60s to rent, is about to add eight more to its collection at its “beautiful” sprawling site near Eaton Park.
Carol Sangster, Board Chairman, staked the charity’s claim to the newly acquired grounds at 11 Bluebell Road by digging into the turf in a ceremony attended by developers, trustees and councillors on Thursday.
She said: “Two years ago the society built 20 purpose-built apartments for the over-60s at Leander Court.
“On the day we opened that, I looked up here at the house formerly owned by Dr Clayton and thought to myself: “what if we owned that house and those beautiful grounds? Imagine all the things we could do with them?"
When Doctor Clayton put the house up for sale, the society applied for a grant from Norwich City Council’s social housing fund to assist with in financing this development and were successful.
“The integrity of the house at the front will be maintained but converted into four apartments and we are also going to build four beautiful bungalows in the grounds at the back of the property. These will be for older people who desperately need affordable rents in the local area.”
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The area of new developments was formerly used to grow roses which is why the various developments are named after varieties of roses.
The Society also intends to build a Common Room for the people at this complex and Leander Court socialise or relax away from their own homes.
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“The Common Room”, Mrs Sangster explained, “will mean people can come together to enjoy the company of others if they wish.”
Mrs Sangster added that one of the biggest issues which needed addressing related to the foul water drainage plus the need to sustain the eves of the house to accommodate bats which were observed before we planning permission was granted.
She said that having dealt with these issues it was anticipated that the development would be completed by March 2022 ready for new tenants.
The board’s new chief executive Tim Pinder, who joined the job two months ago, thanked the council for refusing to “sit on” their right-to-buy receipts but instead reinvesting them into social housing within the community.
Eaton Ward councillors, meanwhile, said the society’s plans were “so needed”.
Caroline Ackroyd said: "This development is fantastic because it means older people can move here and we can free up three-bedroom social houses for families who really need them.
"To have the common room and social area is brilliant for older people. It's a wonderful initiative."