Work to convert the manse at Christchurch into short term accommodation is progressing.
Following the amalgamation of parishes in Ashford, the building was no longer required by the Church of England. Ashford Borough Council bought the home in Beaver Road for £430,000 and is investing around £500,000 to convert it into eight homes, capable of accommodating up to 25 people. An extensive refurbishment programme is underway to add facilities like a communal kitchen, dining room and laundry room.
Christchurch Lodge, as the building has been renamed, follows the same blueprint adopted by the council when it created Christchurch House, a rundown property bought at auction for £278,000 in 2013. It was transformed into good quality short-stay accommodation and was so successful that the money saved on placing homeless people in costly B&Bs meant that Christchurch House payed for itself in four years.
Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said tackling homelessness was a huge priority for the authority. He said both the prevention of homelessness and using the council’s own stock to house homeless people, rather than using costly B&Bs, made financial sense.
“Following the blueprint of Christchurch House represents a win-win strategy. For five years it has offered households a better solution than the upheaval of living out of a B&B. It is also good news that the council has saved considerable sums of money it would have had to pay in B&B costs. We are proud of the proactive approach we take to delivering new housing projects.”
Kent-based Jenner Contractors is carrying out the Christchurch Lodge conversion and a feature of the project is the commitment to using high-quality products and materials to ensure maximum build quality, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.
Ashford Borough Council 08 January 2020