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Empty offices to become affordable housing

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Empty offices to become affordable housing

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development

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A social landlord is to regenerate a vacant office block into 25 one and two-bed flats for affordable rent.

Raglan Housing will covert Orchard House in Southampton's Station Quarter North regeneration area after securing almost £2.5 from the Homes and Communities Agency to develop 30 properties under its empty homes programme.

The redevelopment will benefit from the government’s new permitted development rights which allow the building to be converted into housing using a streamlined planning permission process.

Raglan is also set to convert a three-storey, former working men’s club in Chard, Somerset into five one and two-bed flats. The scheme is due for completion in March 2015.

And the 12,000-provider also has plans to acquire an empty office building in Bracknell and turn it into 35 new homes. It is currently exploring options with Bracknell Forest Council to keep the existing building or demolish it and create a sustainable contemporary new development which could provide a mix of flats and houses.

In Surrey, Raglan has exchanged contracts to purchase three floors and up to 33 flats at the new Station Corner development in the centre of Redhill.

The housing association will provide a mix of one and two-bed balconied apartments for shared ownership, affordable rent and private rent within the development on the site of the 1930s-built Redhill Odeon. The scheme will offer a total of 61 residential properties over seven floors.

Richard Stevenson, Raglan’s business development director, said: “Converting empty office buildings into much-needed affordable housing brings huge benefits to urban areas. It helps tackle the chronic shortage of affordable housing in towns where property is very expensive. It also stimulates the local economy by bringing more people into the high street boosting local trade and commerce and creating jobs.”

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