Iconic Dewsbury building transformed into new homes

Release Date: 16-Feb-2015
A Council project to turn empty town centre buildings into affordable homes is celebrating the completion of the newly refurbished Pioneer House Annexe in Dewsbury
Cllr Cathy Scott with (L-R), Simon Burluraux (KNH) Craig Bagshaw (Strategic Team Group), Cllr Eric Firth, Joanne Maguire & Robert Scott (KNH)

Cllr Cathy Scott with (L-R), Simon Burluraux (KNH) Craig Bagshaw (Strategic Team Group), Cllr Eric Firth, Joanne Maguire & Robert Scott (KNH)

The Grade II listed Victorian building was originally home to the Dewsbury Cooperative Society and has housed a variety of commercial businesses in the past; it was most recently used as a storage facility, but it became surplus to requirements and has been empty since 2009 .

However, thanks to support from government funding designed to bring empty properties back into use as housing, the Council, working with Strategic Team Group and consultants AHR, URS and Mason Clark, has transformed the annexe of the historic building into six one bedroom apartments.

Working with the Councils’ Conservation and Design team the properties have been created whilst ensuring that historic features are protected or enhanced, including an internal staircase to two of the units.

The properties 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 KNH, and are open to people on the Council’s housing register. However, to make sure there is a good balance of residents, new tenants will 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 from £63 -£68 per week, the new units are being advertised through the Kirklees Choose ‘n’ move property adverts and have already attracted a lot of interest.

The refurbishment of Pioneer Annexe has been achieved through support from the Empty Clusters Project and complements the £3.7m Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) regeneration programme, jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the council.

Cllr Cathy Scott is the Council’s cabinet member responsible for housing. She said.
“An important part of the success of the Townscape Heritage Initiative involves bringing Pioneer House back into use and we’re starting to do that through the conversion of the Annexe into affordable town centre housing.

“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. We’re starting to bring this historic building 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.”

Pioneer House Annexe is the second of three council-owned former commercial premises to be converted into new homes. Waverley Chambers in Huddersfield was completed in December 2014, and Estate Buildings, also in Huddersfield is due to be completed early in 2015.
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