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Council to fork out £10m on buying houses for homeless
TWO schemes have been approved that will see dozens of homes made available to hard-up house-hunters.
Oxford City Council’s executive board has approved plans to spend £10m over the next two years to buy between 50 and 55 homes for people considered to be homeless.
It currently houses about 120 single people or families in temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfasts.
Since 2004, the city council has cut the number of people or families in temporary accommodation from around 1,000 to 123.
The council currently spends £521,000 on temporary accommodation, which can range from council-owned hostels to hotel rooms. It estimates the new scheme will save about £60,000 a year.
The council would have to take £5m from this year’s budget and £5m from next year’s to pay for it.
Now, following this decision, the authority wants to spend £10m buying up to 55 properties on the open market, to be leased out at housing benefit rates or on an assured shorthold tenancy.
A total of 22 homes will also be built on disused land at Lawn Upton House in Sandford Road, Littlemore.
But nearby residents living in the area are not happy.
City councillors approved the plans for five one-bedroom flats, nine two-bedroom flats and eight three-bedroom flats.
The application was made by house-builder Vanderbilt Homes Ltd, although the Lawn Upton House listed building will remain.
But Pat Good, resident of nearby David Nicholls Close, said: “The residents here are up in arms about the development on Lawn Upton House.
“For a long time we have been writing letters pointing out that our road is too narrow to cope with much more traffic. People park their cars on the pavement when they come to visit, using up half the pavement or more so that wheelchairs and wider pushchairs cannot get by. “Children have problems when they come down the road, they have to walk or ride their bikes in the road.
“We are very concerned about that.”
She added: “We don’t know whether the heavy goods traffic will come through David Nicholls Close or through Medhurst Way.
“Medhurst Way is all pedestrianised so again it is unsuitable.”
Neighbour Russell Edwards said: “It is still too large for a conservation area.”
He added: “I don’t think any of us are happy about it.“
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