£10.5 MILLION is due to be invested in buying over 170 derelict accommodation units and transforming them into much-needed affordable housing.
Leicester City Council has approved the purchase of the 174 units of former nurses’ accommodation at Hospital Close, near Leicester General Hospital, so they can be converted into 154 new affordable homes for city residents.
The agreement sees the city council taking ownership of the disused buildings from the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), so work can begin on bringing them back into use.
The cost of the scheme will be covered using money from Right to Buy receipts along with some borrowing, the costs of which will in turn be paid back by rental income from the houses.
Unused Right to Buy money is returned to the Government unless it is spent, so housing schemes such as this ensure the money is reinvested locally.
Work is likely to begin on refurbishing and converting the units over the coming weeks, with the first of them likely to be ready for occupation from autumn 2021.
The completed homes will comprise a series of three-bedroomed semi-detached houses, along with some one and two-bed flats. Some of the blocks currently have shared facilities, but these will be converted into the smaller flats.
The next stages of work will involve detailed layouts of the new homes, and appointing a contractor for the building work.
Some of the more straightforward refurbishment work will be done at the same time as more complex remodelling of the units which require more work, in order to bring them back into use as quickly as possible.
Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “These units were formally used to house nurses working at the neighbouring Leicester General Hospital, but have been unoccupied for many years and have fallen into disrepair.
“We’ve been in talks with UHL about purchasing these units for several months, in order to bring them back into meaningful use and benefit local people by providing badly-needed affordable housing.
“The next step will be appointing contractors so that work can get underway on transforming these buildings and giving them a new lease of life.
“Money from Right to Buy house purchases gets returned to the Government unless we put it to use ourselves, so by investing it in creating more affordable housing we are ensuring the money stays within Leicester and helps local people who need it most.”
The work is the latest phase in creating more affordable homes in Leicester, which has already seen a council housebuilding programme creating dozens of new homes on vacant parcels of land in communities across the city over the last two years, with a range of sites also identified for the second phase of housebuilding.