A new affordable housing scheme could help to tackle homelessness in Flintshire, it has been claimed.
An application has been entered to build 12 flats on land near St Andrew’s Church in Garden City.
The development would be constructed by Wates Residential, who said it would be targeted towards vulnerable people experiencing difficulties accessing permanent accommodation.
It forms part of Flintshire Council’s Strategic Housing and Regeneration Programme (SHARP), which aims to meet the housing needs of the local community.
The land formerly belonged to the Church in Wales and was bought by the authority in March 2017 with funding from the Welsh Government.
In a planning statement, Wates said: “A key challenge facing the council is the rising cost of providing bed and breakfast / emergency accommodation for people who present as homeless.
An aerial view of the development site at St Andrew’s Church, Garden City. Source: Wates Residential
In response to this, the council has established its work place project, a partnership between Flintshire County Council Housing Solutions, Communities for Work and Job Centre Plus.
“The project aims to provide housing linked to support and employment for people who are currently subject to a homeless duty.
“Through the project, an experienced mentor will be assigned specifically to support clients through the process ensuring that the client is on a work programme and pathway which is bespoke to the individual.
“The new housing scheme presents an opportunity for tenants to utilise the new facilities at the St Andrew’s Hub, providing and encouraging regular social interaction, training and support.
“Clients on the Work Place Project will be given apprenticeships, job placements and training opportunities on this and other SHARP schemes utilising the St Andrew’s Hub for classroom-based training.”
A community library previously occupied the site but has since been demolished.
The development site at St Andrew’s Church, Garden City. Source: Wates Residential
The proposed flats have been split into two blocks, one made up of eight two-bedroom flats and another with four one-bedroom flats.
A total of £1.1 million was successfully secured in funding from the Welsh Government to support it via the Innovative Housing Programme in October 2018.
It followed a presentation to the Design Commission for Wales in August 2018 and a subsequent interview with officials from Cardiff Bay.
Some of the flats will come with external roof gardens.
Wates added: “The properties have been designed specifically for this scheme with a vision to create a small, intimate community, made up of a mixed demographic and tenancy across the different sized units.
“The external roof gardens have not only been identified as a way to maximise usable space on site, but it is envisioned that these small, intimate and semi-private spaces will also promote a sense of individuality and personalisation for residents, ultimately creating a sense of ownership; a place or home where people want to stay and live in.
“The development of this site will provide housing in the Garden City area and make a positive contribution in strengthening the community as well as remove a vacant site that could otherwise fall foul of vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”
Comments are being invited on the proposals via the Flintshire Council website until February 8, 2019.
The authority will then make a decision on them at a later date.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).