Cradley Heath Enterprise Centres Becomes Emergency Homeless Accommodation

Lovell Partnerships has completed the refurbishment of a former training and enterprise centre owned by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) to create much-needed emergency accommodation.

The former Riddins Mound Training and Enterprise Centre in Cradley Heath has been converted to create short-term accommodation for single adults, couples, and families. Working collaboratively with Sandwell MBC, Lovell has provided specific and flexible accommodation that meets the local housing requirements for the council.

Over the four floors, the facility will provide approximately 890 square metres of living accommodation comprising bedroom units, communal living spaces and disability access to suit a variety of potential service users. There are 21 standard, one-bedroom units designed for short-term residents, of which 18 rooms have interconnection functionality to create two- or three-bedroom units for larger families as required.

Each unit includes showers and bathrooms, including disabled level access shower rooms in all of the two and three-bed unit configurations. Those units on the ground floor include disabled level access wet rooms, and one ground floor unit also includes a disabled level access kitchen. An additional shared kitchen provides a space for community use, along with communal shower space. Furthermore, each unit comes with its own individual electricity card meter.

Carl Yale, refurbishment director at Lovell Partnerships, said: “Through close collaboration with the council, we have created specialist housing provision by refurbishing a previously underutilised council asset, bringing part of the council’s portfolio back into use creating much needed flexible housing solutions. This investment is all the more important when you consider that according to the charity Crisis, there are 160,000 homeless households in Britain, including families, couples and singles.

He added: “This approach to creating hidden homes through the transformation of existing building stock allows us to provide housing much more quickly than designing and building new properties. It also allows us to adapt the developments to meet the needs of local people, while bringing redundant spaces back into use for the local authority.”

This refurbishment project has formed part of an existing contract between Lovell Partnerships and Sandwell MBC, which sees the housebuilder’s refurbishment team working on internal improvement works for the local authority’s residential properties since 2005.

The team has also completed the conversion of the former Greenwood Avenue children’s centre, which was being used as offices, into emergency accommodation. Two one-bedroom and two two-bedroom flats include brand-new kitchens and shower rooms, double glazing, central heating and come fully furnished with beds, wardrobes, washing machines, sofa beds, tables and chairs.