Spelthorne Borough Council is the first local authority in the country to convert part of its active civic building into affordable housing and held an opening ceremony for the West Wing on Friday 3 December. The Mayor of Spelthorne, Cllr Ian Harvey, formally opened the building.
In 2018, the Council reconfigured its office space to free up 43% of its Knowle Green headquarters and, over the last few years, has been converting these into 25 affordable rental housing flats. All the apartments will be let on rents of up to 80% of the equivalent market rent through the Council’s Housing Options team. This ensures that those who need this accommodation most are prioritised. Residents will be offered five-year tenancies to provide more stability than they would have in the private rented sector.
The West Wing has created approximately 17,800sqft of residential space providing a mix of studios, one, two and three bedroom flats over four floors. We have adapted one home to meet the specific housing requirements of a Spelthorne resident allowing the resident to continue living with his family. Spread over four floors, the building benefits from a traditional frontage with large windows and large modern living accommodation. Residents will be moving into their new homes in the coming weeks.
The redevelopment has made our offices much more efficient and, together, with our digital investments, gained us a national public sector transformational award in 20201. These changes dovetail perfectly with our pre-existing agile workforce policies and puts Spelthorne in a position where we can thrive in a post-pandemic world.
Cllr Sandra Dunn, Chair of the Community Wellbeing and Housing Committee, said: “I am incredibly proud that we are the first Council to convert part of its office building into affordable housing. We are committed to increasing our housing stock and providing high quality affordable homes for our residents. With some homes dedicated to high need clients, it allows us to work closely with them to give them the support they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. This conversion has improved the efficiency of the Council’s office space and as we take tentative steps out of the Coronavirus pandemic, we will be able to deliver a more efficient service for residents. The West Wing is just the latest phase in the Council’s ambitious plan to deliver the required housing for the Borough’s residents.”
The Council will transfer running of the site to our housing delivery company Knowle Green Estates. For more details about Knowle Green Estates, visit: knowlegreenestates.co.uk/