Flats refurbished to create improved temporary housing for homeless people in St Albans

Improved temporary accommodation for homeless people is being created at Ridgeview in London Colney.

Improved temporary accommodation for homeless people is being created at Ridgeview in London Colney. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

A dilapidated development in St Albans will be brought back into use to create improved temporary accommodation for homeless people.

Four blocks of flats at Ridgeview in London Colney, which are mostly former University of Hertfordshire student accommodation, are to be transformed as part of the initiative.

St Albans City and District Council owns the properties on a long lease, and all but one of the blocks have been empty since 2015. The council will refurbish 15 flats, which are already being used as temporary accommodation for homeless people, and create 11 new ones at two of the blocks.

These properties will be modernised with better kitchens, bathrooms and fittings, and also made energy-efficient. They will then be used as temporary accommodation for homeless people who might otherwise be housed in costly hotels or bed and breakfast accommodation.

This will also ensure people waiting for a permanent home can live in properties suitable for maintaining a decent family life.

As part of the project, the other two empty blocks will be transformed into 19 flats that will be rented out to private tenants.

Cllr Jacqui Taylor, portfolio holder for housing, inclusion and protection, said: "This is a very worthwhile project as it greatly improves the quality of temporary accommodation that we have available.

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"We have a legal duty along with other local authorities to house homeless households in temporary accommodation until something suitable is found for them.

"We have experienced a significant increase in the number of such homeless people over the last year, so Ridgeview will help us cope with the pressure on our resources. We want them to have a kitchen and other facilities rather than have to live out of a suitcase."

The work will hopefully be completed in early 2021.

Cllr Robert Donald, portfolio holder for property, commercial and development, said: "There is an added advantage to carrying out the comprehensive refurbishment of Ridgeview as we will now be able to build permanent social housing on the King Offa site in St Albans instead of using this location for temporary accommodation."