Housing support centre to reopen for 47 people seeking accommodation

The Foyer is now set to become a house of multiple occupancy as private rented housing, with communa

The Foyer is now set to become a house of multiple occupancy as private rented housing, with communal living spaces and private rooms Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

An ex-housing support centre in Ipswich will be revitalised to provide 47 rooms in the town after the borough council approved plans for a new development.

The Foyer in Star Lane was a lifeline for young people in need of housing for two decades, before its closure in March 2017 as a result of the contract not being renewed.

Now plans have been approved to reopen it as a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) under the ownership of Ipswich-based firm Sai Asha Ltd, along with communal spaces and room for businesses in five offices in the proposed ground floor.

Having faced potential rejection after concerns from Suffolk Constabulary and residents of Star Lane, the application was amended to include greater details of the steps that would be taken to make the development safe and secure after tenants had moved in.

Cllr Liz Harsant echoes these worries at the meeting.

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“A lot of anti-social behaviour and drug taking has taken place at this location over the years,” she said.

“I think that this new proposal will be an advantage to the area now the building is under new management.”

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The front door, back door and all residential rooms will have individual locks, with the front and back doors operated by magnetic card keys, issued to each of the residents.

As well as this, residents will each have an intercom system so they can let visitors into the building.

One key provision put in place by the planning applicants is that all potential residents will need to be interviewed too - but there will be no age restrictions on residents, the same policy in place when run by Suffolk County council as housing support.

CCTV will monitor the external area, common rooms and ground floor reception rooms.

Cllr Carole Jones made an amendment at the planning meeting on December 12, asking that it be made clear in the proposal that 24/7 security also be present at the site.

Clear signs to rooms and regular cleaning and inspections are also going to be implemented when the building opens.

The approved plan has 21 car parking spaces, which is less than the recommended number for a development with this many residents.

At the recommendation of officers and the approval of the planning committee, the spaces were deemed appropriate given the central location of the building in Ipswich and the lack of available land to develop into a larger car park.

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