Plymouth council backs extra care housing scheme
AN OLD community centre site will be handed over to a housing association for £1 to build sheltered flats for the elderly.
Plymouth City Council's Cabinet yesterday accepted an offer from Aster Housing Group for the site of the former Ernesettle Community Centre.
The Aster offer of a nominal £1 was the only response to a council marketing exercise for the site.
Aster will build a 40-unit affordable extra care housing scheme for older people, with associated community facilities.
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Debbie Butcher, a commissioning manager with the council, said: "Local people who can demonstrate that they will free up family homes will get priority."
Cabinet members agreed that the council will put up £500,000 towards the scheme. It will get about £300,000 back through the Government's new homes bonus.
Ernesettle Community Centre was one of ten surplus council-owned sites to go on the market earlier this year.
The land had been valued at £260,000. A report to the Cabinet says: "The capital receipt offer is less than the best consideration that can be reasonably obtained.
"However the proposal offers significant social and economic benefits."
The offer was the only one received for the site.
Homes and Communities Agency funding of about £2.8million will be used to help fund the £4.5million development.
Cllr Mark Lowry, the Cabinet member for finance, said Ernesettle was an estate of big three-bedroom homes where many people were looking to downsize.
He said the site had attracted a lot of anti-social behaviour.
Cabinet member Cllr Nicky Williams welcomed the development. "This site has been derelict and an eyesore for many years," she said.
The site was the location of the former Ernesettle Community Centre and library.
The buildings have been demolished and the site cleared.