Wednesday 28 February 2024
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Nottingham

Radford: New site for 20 residents to make room for more Nottingham homeless people

Around 20 people will be moved out of an independent living complex so Nottingham City Council can turn the building into temporary accommodation for the homeless.

Sutton House, Radford, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, provides a total of 48 flats for people who require nursing or personal care and those with learning disabilities.

However just under half of the 48 units were empty as of October, while the level of empty units has increased steadily over the last four years.

Nottingham City Council is proposing to move current residents to a different site and convert Sutton House into temporary accommodation for those who are homeless.

The authority is facing rising demand for support from newly-homeless people, but all its current temporary housing is full, meaning it is spending around £22,000 every day sheltering those in need in bed and breakfasts and hotels.

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During an Executive Board meeting on Tuesday, December 19, councillors agreed to proceed with the plans.

The refurbishment and conversion of the building, on Forster Street, will cost £1.143m and will be paid for using existing council funds.

Cllr Jay Hayes (Lab), the portfolio holder for housing, said: “This will create 48 units of temporary accommodation which will help us to get people out of B&Bs and hotels.

“Tenants have been consulted, there has been one-to-one visits with the teams. Money will be provided in supporting these people to be rehoused.”

The council says Nottingham, like many other areas of the country, is experiencing “very high demand” for homelessness services, including a growing number of households that require temporary accommodation while applications are assessed, or a permanent housing solution is found.

Council leader Cllr David Mellen (Lab) said the “tide of homelessness” amid the ongoing cost of living crisis was putting significant pressures on its budget.

A budget gap of £23m has been reported this year, which recently led to the issuing of a Section 114 bankruptcy notice, and a separate gap of £53m next year.

The council currently has 441 units of temporary accommodation, either provided directly or through partners and subsidiary companies, but all units are full.

This means the authority is being forced to house people in costly bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation.

There are now 185 households in this type of accommodation, which costs the council roughly £22,000 a night in total.

Sajeeda Rose, the Corporate Director for Growth and City Development, added: “This provides better alternative accommodation, and cheaper accommodation, for the council.”

Consultation with residents took place in September.

The council says general feedback was that a majority of current tenants enjoyed and were happy living at Sutton House.

“A majority were sorry that it was proposed the property would close although some tenants commented they understood the reasons, given the lack of demand,” documents say.

“Officers explained the support and compensation that would be offered to them if decommissioning proceeds.

“A majority of tenants stated that if they needed to be resettled, they would prefer to remain in the Radford and Lenton area.”

The council says it will work “to best meet the requirements and aspirations of tenants as far as this is reasonably possible”.

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