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Let's bin unused space!


Published by Kerrie Beck for Longhurst Group in Housing and also in Care and Support, Communities, Health

Friendship Care and Housing (Friendship) continue in their quest to bring more empty homes back into use, as a novel project in Walsall makes use of wasted space to create wheelchair friendly homes.

Four blocks of flats situated along Hadley Road on the Beechdale estate in Walsall are having a ground floor bedsit and a bin storage area transformed in each block to form one bed apartments.  The accommodation, suitable for two people will be accessible for people with limited mobility, providing wheelchair access, a mobility scooter charging area and a new entrance canopy to each block.  Works also include additional brick storage outbuildings.

Neil Ashford, Head of Property and Investment at Friendship said “These bedsits have been empty for 10 years and it’s great to see them take on a new lease of life.  These apartments are being offered at affordable rent, so we’re working with Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council to get early nominations.   We will then be in a position to consult with our customers whilst the work is in progress and where possible, tailor each apartment to suit their specific need.”   

£100,000 of this £240,000 conversion project will be allocated from Recyclable Grant Funding (RCGB).

Friendship’s Managing Director, Jonathan Driffill said “These conversions continue to realise our commitment to the Beechdale Estate.  Whilst we strive to demonstrate both social and financial value for money, we are determined in our pursuit to bring empty properties and unused spaces back into use.  We have more than 4,600 homes across the midlands and only 15 of those properties remain empty.  Eight of which are being worked on and the remainder are under an options appraisal.

“When Beechdale Community Housing   joined Friendship in 2011, we promised our customers more homes and regeneration of open spaces on the estate.  Last year we completed the multi-use play area in Lister Close, which is suitable for all ages to enjoy and these new flats in Hadley Road continue to make good on that promise.”

Friendship is working in partnership with their development team colleagues at parent company Longhurst Group, E&H Design (Architects), John Greaves Associates (Surveyors) and D&F Construction Ltd (Developers).

This 26 week conversion programme will see two flats handed over before the end of the year and the remaining two, early in the New Year.


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