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Derelict Brighton villa turned into housing for homeless

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Derelict Brighton villa turned into housing for homeless

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

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A charity has seen the first tenants move into a formerly derelict Victorian villa in Brighton.

Brighton and Hove Seaside Community Homes, which was set up in 2011 to raise money to bring council-owned empty homes into use, has turned the building on Brighton's Preston Road into 16 one and two-bed flats to provide long-term supported accommodation for vulnerable homeless households.

Previously used by the council as temporary accommodation with shared facilities for homeless people, the villa had become increasingly outdated and was closed for refurbishment.

However, before work could start the building was squatted, badly vandalised and reduced to a completely uninhabitable state with a great deal of structural damage.

The refurbishment works cost £960,000.

Brighton & Hove Council surveyor Scott Lunn, who designed the scheme, said: “The building was in such a poor state that we had to resolve many structural and other problems before we could start on the conversion work. However, main contractors Mears and the sub-contractors worked together to complete the work on time without compromising on the quality of the finish, and it shows.”

Councillor Bill Randall, chair of housing, added: “The flats are a fantastic example of how empty and wasted buildings can be converted into high quality homes for those in great housing need.

"In this case, the first floor ceiling has been dropped to accommodate four studio flats in the roof. Providing 16 rented flats for £960,000 is very good value for money, indeed, and will give 16 homeless households a fresh start in life."

Brighton & Hove Seaside Community Homes was set up by the council as a ‘local delivery vehicle’ to raise investment for improvements to council homes.

It is leasing 499 empty properties from the council in batches over five years. With the first batch leased in November 2011, to date 351 homes have been refurbished and let to homeless households and other people with particular needs.

Tenants are nominated by the council’s temporary accommodation team, which manages the homes on behalf of Seaside Homes.

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