Council looks to secure homes in St Michael’s Gate for city's homeless

The city council is getting ready to purchase 72 properties in St Michael’s Gate to secure their use as temporary accommodation for homeless residents.

The housing estate in Parnwell has been leased to Peterborough City Council by Stef and Phillips since 2016 and since this time has been used to provide vital temporary accommodation to 382 homeless families.

With the three year lease coming to an end on 1 November, the council is preparing to buy the housing estate to ensure it can continue to provide accommodation for those who need it most.

After negotiations with Stef and Philips over the past few weeks, the two parties have agreed on a deal and the city council has issued a Cabinet Member Decision Notice to gain the permission needed to go ahead with the purchase and to make the money available to install new windows for residents.

The price of the homes, £13.38million, but would be paid for via the council’s Invest to Save Fund. As well as ensuring St Michael’s Gate can be used to house homeless families before more permanent homes become available, the purchase of the site would be £600,000 cheaper for the council per year than continuing the lease.

It would also remove the risk of the lease being terminated by the current landlord and another buyer purchasing the site - potentially meaning the council has to find homes elsewhere in the city for 72 households.

Councillor Steve Allen, cabinet member for housing at Peterborough City Council, said: The purchase of St Michael’s Gate really is a no-brainer - it would be £600,000 cheaper for us to own the properties rather than lease them, it secures them for the long-term use of city residents in housing need and, crucially, if we don't choose to buy them someone else will, perhaps another council. 

“If we don’t act now, we could potentially lose one of the largest sites used for temporary accommodation in the city, forcing families to move into costly and unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation.”

Over the last 12 months, a variety of repairs and modernisations have been made to St Michael’s Gate for residents. This includes the installation of new boilers and heating systems in all homes, brought about by the city council and paid for by the Local Enterprise Advice Partnership (LEAP) fund. As part of the sale, the council would also set aside money to fit new windows in the properties.

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