Updated - Residents informed of plans for temporary accommodation in Rayleigh

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


You asked – we said…Information leaflet about Frances Cottee Lodge (PDF 756kb) (added 10th November 2016)

Rochford Housing Association, in partnership with Rochford District Council, has held ‘drop in sessions’ to inform residents about their plans to provide much-needed temporary housing in Rayleigh.

They are planning to offer 15 flats at Frances Cottee Lodge, in Clarence Road, to local families, couples and individuals who urgently need to be housed. This will ensure that people who are already suffering a great deal of upheaval in their lives can continue to live in the Rochford District, with their children remaining at the same schools.

At the present time, most of the demand for temporary accommodation in the Rochford District is for families, and of the 67 households currently in temporary accommodation, 28 have had to be placed outside of the district. Of these 28 households, 23 are families with at least one child under the age of 16.

People become homeless for a whole range of reasons but, within the district, the main reason is private landlords serving notice on their tenants because they want to sell the property or increase their rental income.

To fully explain the plans to surrounding residents and directly answer any questions, two drop-in sessions were held at Rayleigh Methodist Church on Tuesday 18 October.

Residents living at Frances Cottee Lodge, which is currently used as sheltered accommodation for the over-55s, have already been made aware of the plans and over time will move to new homes.

This will directly affect nine households and Rochford Housing Association has been talking with them and their families since August to ensure their questions are answered and they are provided with a wide-range of support, before seeking to inform the wider community. Everyone affected is hoping to move within the District, and over time, they will be assisted to move to new homes.

Residents at the flats in Clarence Road have also been consulted and given the option to move if they wish.

As part of their plans, Rochford Housing Association intends to reconfigure the interior of the building to include two much-needed wheelchair accessible flats and upgrade the exterior. They will also be submitting a planning application to increase the parking on site, by removing the patio area but while retaining the lawned area to the front.

People will need to apply to Rochford District Council as homeless before they will be considered for one of these flats. The accommodation will be closely managed by Rochford Housing Association and Rochford District Council and offers better value for Council Tax payers than the use of bed and breakfast accommodation, which can also be unsettling for children’s schooling.

Emma Keegan, Managing Director of Rochford Housing Association, said: “Following our discussions with the residents of Frances Cottee Lodge, we were pleased to have the opportunity to inform local people about our plans through the drop in sessions.

“We recognise that there is a real and growing need for temporary accommodation in the district, particularly among families and we are keen to play our part in meeting that need.

"We communicated with 60 homes around the property but we recognise more people are interested and we should have communicated more widely. We will be sharing our responses to any questions through our website, www.sanctuary-housing.co.uk, and directly to the people who attended the drop in sessions.”

Louisa Moss, Rochford District Council’s Assistant Director for Community and Housing Services, said: “There is a real need for temporary accommodation in the Rochford District and we believe that Frances Cottee Lodge can go some way to help with managing this demand.

“If you look at the figures for April to September alone, we were approached by 51 local families and 28 individuals who were homeless and in desperate need of our help. In addition to this, 585 new approaches were made to our Housing Advice Team.

“We do seek to reduce disruption to their lives by finding temporary accommodation in the Rochford District, particularly so that their children can continue to attend the same schools, but this is not always possible due to a shortage of suitable properties. Therefore we are pleased to work in partnership with Rochford Housing Association to seek to address this need.”

If you would like to give your views, on this or any other issue, please email rochford.consult@sanctuary-housing.co.uk or call 0800 131 3348.

Any further updates will be made available on the Sanctuary Housing website at https://www.sanctuary-housing.co.uk/local-to-you/rochford-housing#frances-cottee-lodge or the Rochford District Council website at https://www.rochford.gov.uk/housing/homelessness-and-housing-advice

Please see the FAQs below with regards to Frances Cottee Lodge