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Eighteen more social-rent homes are created

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Eighteen more homes for social rent have been created after another ageing sheltered housing block in St Albans was refurbished.  

Mereden Court in Tavistock Avenue, Sopwell, was converted into 14 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom flats and renamed Hawksley Court.  

St Albans City and District Council has already offered all 18 homes to prospective tenants on its housing and transfer register with people expected to move in by the end of the month.  

The £3.2 million project was supported by a £540,000 Homes England grant and the building contractor was Engie.

The new name for the building was selected from suggestions put forward by the local Sopwell community.

It is a nod to the heritage of the site as prefab housing manufactured by AW Hawksley Ltd and known as ‘Hawksley BL8s’ used to stand there.  

The development is part of an ambitious programme by the Council to repurpose housing blocks that have reached the end of their life.  

In December, Warner House, in Cell Barnes Lane, was completed, providing 24 new homes for over-55s. A sheltered block, Wavell House, that stood on the site was demolished.  

That £4.8 million project was supported by a £720,000 Homes England grant and provided 12 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom social rent properties.  

Councillor Jacqui Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Inclusion and Protection, said:  

Hawksley Court is a high-quality development that is a further demonstration of our commitment to create more much-needed social housing for the District. It has also been fitted with solar panels and the new secure cycle storage facilities have green or living roofs to help combat the climate crisis.  

I am pleased that, despite the impact of Covid-19, we have been able to work with our contractors to deliver these two developments that provide more than 40 new social rent properties.  

We now aim to move swiftly on to the next projects. Earlier this month, planning permission was secured to develop permanent, social housing on the Hedges site at Woollam Crescent, in Batchwood, and designs are under way for the King Offa in Sopwell.

Along with Noke Shot, in Harpenden, which is under construction, these sites will contain much-needed three-bedroom family homes to address the over-crowding crisis many of our existing tenants are experiencing.

Councillor contact:
Councillor Jacqui Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Inclusion and Protection;; 07971 906343.

Contact for the media: 
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727 819533,