A new set of 30 affordable flats on the former Job Centre site in Plymouth is now complete.
Asa House is the name of the site in Hoegate Street, which is the result of a partnership between the Chapter 1 Charity Ltd, the Homes and Communities Agency, and Plymouth City Council.
The site will be officially opened by Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing, on Thursday 10 December and offers a mixture of 9 two-bedroom flats and 21 one-bedroom flats, providing accommodation for around 40 people. The Job Centre site had been empty for around ten years.
The total cost of the scheme is £3.5m, with £1.05m from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Empty Homes scheme, £150,000 from Plymouth City Council, and the remainder of the funding from Chapter 1.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing for Plymouth City Council, said: “I am thrilled to be able to open Asa House, which will provide much needed affordable housing for up to 40 people in Plymouth, in a previously wasted space.
“Asa House is an excellent example of partnership working between Chapter 1, the Homes and Communities Agency, and Plymouth City Council.
“The Council, through its Plan for Empty Homes, is doing everything within its power, working with housing providers and the Homes and Communities Agency, to make better use of vacant buildings, and over the past five years we have helped to bring almost 500 previously unused homes back into use.
“The Plan for Empty Homes also aims to bring a further 200 empty homes back into use in the city.”
Joseph Main, Chief Executive of Chapter 1 Charity Ltd, said: “We, at Chapter 1, are delighted to celebrate the long-awaited opening of Asa House and to have been able to support the people and communities of Plymouth by way of our considerable investment into the area.
“We thank our investment partners, and in particular, the Homes and Communities Agency and Plymouth City Council, who have walked alongside us patiently and collaboratively on this development journey. Chapter 1’s hope is that Asa House will continue to support and service the people of Plymouth with high quality, affordable housing long into the future.”
Janet Ventre, Area Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We’re working with partners across the city to make sure new homes are built to meet the housing need. Asa House is a fantastic example of how unused buildings can be brought back to life and provide much needed housing for local people.”
Asa House is named after King Asa, an ancient Hebrew ruler who built city walls so his people could live in safety and prosper in their lives. This sentiment reflects Chapter 1’s ethos, and seemed appropriate as Asa House is close to the old Plymouth city walls.
There are 744 long term empty homes in Plymouth and 200,000 across England and Wales. In addition to a pledge to bring 200 homes into use, other key actions in Plymouth’s Plan for Empty Homes include:
- Developing redundant commercial premises by working with local businesses
- Proactively approach empty home owners and offering them incentives to sell, let or owner occupy their empty homes, and
- Taking enforcement action against owners that refuse offers of help through the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders, Enforced Sale Orders, and Empty Dwelling Management Orders.