Finding hidden homes: starting the process
In 2002, the housing department undertook a survey of every store shed, laundry, garage and redundant amenity on its blocks and estates.
It quickly became apparent that there was substantial scope to create new homes at reasonable cost from redundant or underused areas and a programme was developed.
"This was the beginning of a unique and pioneering initiative, which later became known as the hidden homes scheme."
After an area is identified, the proposal is audited to make sure it represents value for money in comparison to alternative means of procuring property for rent.
If viable the process of seeking planning and building control approvals begins.
- Step One: compile an inventory of disused storage areas, garages, laundry rooms, boiler rooms and under used land on estates.
- Step Two: conduct a design feasibility study to see if conversion is practical. We look at the costs.
- Step Three: some locations are rejected, for technical reasons or on costs grounds.
- Step Four: having worked up a scheme we submit a planning application. Once approved, the work is put out for tender.
- Step Five: a selection of contractors place their bid for the works. Once a tender is accepted, the works are scheduled with start and completion dates.
- Step Six: phase one of the building works begin.
Working with residents
Critical to the success of the scheme is residents' support for the initiative and development in their communities.
The opportunity to build new homes from redundant spaces whilst designing out crime and anti- social behaviour in the process is welcomed by residents.