Proposals to provide new housing opportunities to go before Cabinet: Imperial Apartments

20 Aug 2020

Proposals to provide new housing opportunities to go before Cabinet

Plans to use converted former council offices in south Bristol to provide more settled housing opportunities for people in the city, will be considered by Cabinet next month.

The properties at Imperial Apartments would be let to a range of different tenants, including people who already live and work in the local community. Rent for the properties the council would be providing tenants for would be within the Local Housing Allowance rates

Around 70 people who are being housed in hotel provision as part of the council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic could be moved in to the development, along with individuals and families currently in temporary accommodation. The remaining properties would be let by Caridon on the private market.

The properties are only suitable for those who are able to live independently in a private rented tenancy with minimal or no support.

Some people could also be able to move from the current hotel provision into supported accommodation pathways, as Imperial Apartments would provide move-on accommodation for people who are ready to leave supported housing and move into independent accommodation.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet member for Housing, said: “We are committed to making sure that people do not return to the streets, and securing suitable move-on accommodation is one of our key priorities.

“It is essential that we get the right mix of households living in the site so we can achieve a sustainable and balanced community. The Cabinet will consider this proposal to help meet the varying housing needs of individuals and families across the city, and contribute to the range and supply of move-on accommodation for those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness in Bristol.”

The proposed Lettings Plan for Imperial Apartments centres around creating a diverse and successful community, ensuring that the development is a positive and safe environment for people to live. Caridon and Bristol City Council are jointly committed to making Imperial Apartments a place where people want to live and feel part of the local community.

Facilities available on site will include an IT room and communal recreation room, with plans for indoor and outdoor play areas, an outdoor gym and a pop-up coffee shop.

The council and Caridon would also provide targeted support to tenants, where needed, to help people successfully maintain their tenancies. There are also plans to work with local organisations to bring a range of activities and skills based learning onsite for residents to benefit from.

Akeel Alidina, Managing Director of Caridon Property, said: “Caridon are looking forward to collaborating with Bristol City Council on this landmark project.

“It is refreshing to see the pragmatic and innovative approach taken by Bristol City Council to tackle the housing crisis and we firmly believe that a joint working partnership between the public and private sector is key to easing the housing crisis across the UK.

“We hope that our partnership with Bristol City Council will not only deliver a long-term sustainable housing solution, but pave the way for many future opportunities where Caridon can continue to assist in the delivery of much needed housing in Bristol.”

As part of the tenancy sign up process, tenants moving on from the hotels and other move-on routes would have an assessment to check they are able to afford a tenancy at Imperial Apartments and, where relevant, are accessing welfare benefits that they may be entitled to and would receive support with Universal Credit claims where needed.

There is a wider coordinated One City Move-on Accommodation programme which is targeted to source a significantly increased supply and range of accommodation for those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. This includes working more effectively and proactively with private landlords, developers and registered providers; repurposing and bringing council owned properties back into use; more larger scale leasing or nominations arrangements (similar to Imperial Apartments) and an increased use of innovative solutions including modular housing.

Council teams are also doing a wide range of prevention work to stop people becoming homeless in the first place as well as continuing to work with a wide range of private and voluntary sector partners in the city looking at new ideas and creative ways in which more housing can be provided for those who are homeless.  

Bristol City Council is keen to hear from anyone who has a property available to let now or in the coming year. Landlords that work with the council will receive a package of support, including a rent guarantee, and will be helping to tackle homelessness at the same time.

A final decision on whether the council will take on the nomination rights for these apartments will be taken at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday September 1.