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Council to buy properties to house the homeless in ‘bold move’

PUBLISHED: 13:11 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:11 02 March 2020

NNDC leader Sarah Butikofer said buying the properties to temporarily house homeless people was a 'win-win' for the council. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

NNDC leader Sarah Butikofer said buying the properties to temporarily house homeless people was a 'win-win' for the council. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

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A council has taken the “bold move” to buy two properties worth £300,000 to temporarily house homeless people.

The district council's deputy leader Eric Seward is urging people to keep visiting North Walsham. Picture: supplied by Eric SewardThe district council's deputy leader Eric Seward is urging people to keep visiting North Walsham. Picture: supplied by Eric Seward

North Norfolk district councillors unanimously voted to approve the recommendation at a Cabinet meeting on Monday, March 2.

Councillors heard that the plans would cut down on the expenditure of temporarily housing homeless people in B&Bs and hotels.

Andrew Brown, the council's portfolio holder for planning and housing, said: "We have a shortage of accommodation to house homeless people in.

"This is the first step to start buying our own accommodation. One of the properties is in North Walsham and has two bedrooms, while the second is near Fakenham, and has one bedroom. They will accommodate up to six people between them at any one time."

Council leader Sarah Butikofer said: "These are people in crisis. We want to make sure they have a nice and secure home to be in. It's a win-win for the council.

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"These are the first two and we want to get the portfolio going."

Councillor Nigel Pearce said: "It's a radical departure for us, but I think it's the right approach, it does have risks, as it's new. It's a bold move."

Eric Seward, deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, said the cost of the properties was £300,000 and there was £300,000 left in the kitty to purchase further properties, including flats.

He added: "It will cut down on the cost of housing the homeless in B&Bs and hotels, which is rocketing."

The council's head of paid service Steve Blatch said: "This is temporary accommodation and does not provide anything in the long-term. There are 42 households in temporary accommodation at present and the cost is met by the council."

A report to Cabinet stated that: "The council has a duty to provide temporary accommodation for homeless households. The council purchases much of this accommodation from the private sector with a significant net cost to the council. "Purchase of these properties will provide quality, flexible homes for temporary accommodation and there is budget provision available to purchase such homes."

The identified properties are in the wards of North Walsham West and The Raynhams.


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