FLATS in Lymington town centre are set to be bought by New Forest District Council and turned into temporary accommodation for homeless people.
Blease Court contains seven properties on the corner of Cannon Street and Gosport Street, next to Jewson builders’ merchants. It will be purchased from housing association Peabody Group.
The plan has been signed off by NFDC’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Jill Cleary, and is part of a strategy to reduce the authority’s reliance on B&Bs for emergency housing.
The price of the deal has been kept secret but funding will come via NFDC’s overall housing strategy of using reserves, borrowing and rental income.
The authority wants to buy properties for temporary accommodation, and has already launched a similar facility at Pentagon Court in Blackfield, Fawley, as reported in the A&T. It has a target of 600 new affordable homes by 2026.
Despite being in “poor cosmetic order”, the empty property was described by a council report as an “ideal acquisition” due to its relatively low cost and location.
It said: “It is hard to imagine how a more suitable and affordable property could have been located in Lymington for this purpose.”
Before it takes on its new role the property will have to undergo “extensive modernisation and redecoration”, it added.
The report concluded: “Once acquired and improved, Blease Court will form part of the growing network of similar council owned and managed schemes across the New Forest district.
“Quality homes will provide urgently needed alternatives to bed-and-breakfast accommodation, and the undesirable social and financial consequences that are associated with that approach.”
The building was originally constructed by the Lymington Churches Housing Project in 1994 to serve young homeless, unmarried people.
It passed into the hands of Hyde Housing Association before being was sold in 2014 to Family Mosaic Housing Association which merged with Peabody Group in 2018.