Work is set to start to transform the derelict former Ship Hostel building in Millbay into affordable apartments – as Plymouth City Council seeks to relieve the number of empty homes in the city.
The Ship Hostel building, which has been empty since 2011, is to be converted into 11 contemporary, affordable rent-to-buy flats with associated parking. The first homes are expected to be ready for occupation next summer.
Representatives from QSH met with representatives from Plymouth City Council, and local building contractor Classic Builders – who are creating several jobs through the delivery of the scheme – on site yesterday as work on the development prepares to start.
The new flats are being brought forward through a pioneering partnership between affordable housing provider QSH, private finance house Harcourt Capital, Plymouth City Council – as part of its Plan for Empty Homes’ initiative – and South Devon Rural Housing Association, who will manage the new development.
Steve Partridge, Executive Director, Finance and Investment at QSH, said: “We’re pleased to mark the start of our work on site to transform the former Ship Hostel building into attractive new affordable apartments, supporting local people in achieving their ambition to own their own home through our innovative scheme.
“The Ship Hostel building is very well known to local people, and we’re excited to be bringing it back into use. We look forward to welcoming the first tenants into their new apartments next year.”
Tenants of the new apartments will be able to benefit from QSH’s Rent-to-Buy scheme – a ground-breaking combination of private investment and government enterprise incentives enabling aspiring homeowners to pay affordable rents whilst building up their crucial first deposit so that they can purchase their property between the first and fifth year of living there.
Under the scheme, half of the tenant’s rental payments are put towards the deposit they need to secure a mortgage to buy their home (up to a maximum of 10%), whilst those who choose not to purchase during this time can continue renting their homes for a further 15 years.
Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing for Plymouth City Council said: “We are delighted that work is starting on converting the empty former Ship Hostel into 11 apartments. This reflects our commitment as a council to both make better use of our empty buildings and provide more homes for the people of Plymouth. It is a great example of what can be achieved through partnership working between the Council and QSH.”
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, Housing and Planning, said: “Our Empty Homes campaign is proving to be a great success and we recently received praise from Empty Homes, the national campaigning charity, for the work we have done here in Plymouth. Since 2015 we have brought 83 empty homes back into use in the city and it continues to be a priority.”
Steve Prime, Chief Executive of South Devon Rural Housing Association, added: “We are pleased to be involved in this innovative project to preserve an important local building in the heart of Plymouth.
“The project brings investment into the local economy and will provide much needed homes whilst helping people to get onto the property ladder through the innovative QSH Rent-to-Buy scheme.”
The QSH-rent-to-buy homes will be allocated via a local lettings policy, which will give preference to people who currently live, work or have family they support in the area. People are invited to register their interest in the new apartments by contacting South Devon Rural Housing Association on 01803 847591 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org