Town centre buildings transformed into new affordable homes

Release Date: 08-Dec-2014
A Council project to turn empty town centre buildings into affordable homes is celebrating a major milestone, with the completion of the newly refurbished Waverley Chambers on Kirkgate in Huddersfield.
Cllr Cathy Scott, with representatives from the Council, KNH and the contractors involved in the project

Cllr Cathy Scott, with representatives from the Council, KNH and the contractors involved in the project

The impressive Grade II listed Victorian building has been home to a variety of commercial businesses and Council services in the past, but it became surplus to requirements and has been empty for three years.

However, thanks to government funding designed to bring empty properties back into use as
housing, the Council, working with Torpoint Construction and consultants AHR,
URS and Mason, has transformed the former offices into six one-bedroom apartments over
three floors.

Working with the Councils’ Planning and Heritage Section, the flats have been created whilst ensuring that historic features within this listed building are protected or enhanced including the entrance stairwell.

The self-contained flats are fully decorated and wired for digital TV and internet access, have fully fitted modern kitchens and bathrooms, double glazing, heating and door entry systems connected to telephone and TV.

The latest additions to the Council’s stock of housing are being managed by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and are open to anyone on the Council’s housing register. However, to make sure there is a good balance of residents, people in low paid work or in training are being given priority for some of the homes. New tenants will also have to attend a pre-tenancy workshop to make sure they fully understand the responsibilities of living in a flat and get to know their neighbours.

Renting for just over £78 per week, the new flats are being advertised through the Kirklees Choose ‘n’ move property adverts.

Cllr Cathy Scott is the Council’s cabinet member responsible for housing. She said: “two key priorities for the Council are to create more affordable housing and to boost our town centres.

“This project is a prime example of how we can do that. An historic but empty building has been brought back to life, while the physical improvements and the way the flats are being let make this a very desirable place to live. I hope all the residents will be very happy in their new homes.”

Waverley Chambers is the first of three council-owned commercial premises to be converted into new homes. Estate Buildings, also in Huddersfield and the Pioneer House annexe in Dewsbury are due to be completed early in 2015.
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