A historic former pub in Bolton has undergone a £400k refurb as part of an innovative scheme to boost the supply of affordable homes in the borough.
The Old Hare and Hounds, Bury Road, Breightmet, dated back to the early 1700s but laid empty since it was closed in 2008 after a decline in trade.
It has now been transformed into 14 one-bedroom apartments for social housing tenants under Bolton at Home’s lease management service, jointly administered by Bolton Council and Bolton at Home.
The refurbished building, which has been named Jayden House, is now home to 14 people after funding from the Greater Manchester Empty to Plenty Scheme to support owners to bring empty properties back into use.
The £400k refurb cost has been met by a grant from the scheme and also from investment by owner Prag Luhar, director at Linx Construction Consultants Ltd.
John Dunn, Bolton at Home’s Assistant Director for Tenancy Services, said: “Lease management is a growing way that we’re increasing the number of affordable homes available in Bolton and it complements new-build developments.
“It provides a win-win situation where property owners and landlords and developers meet the significant cost of refurbishing these properties, with grant support, but get guaranteed income from the property as a result. Meanwhile, we’re able to bring empty properties back into use to benefit the community.”
Prag Luhar said: “The conversion and refurbishment of the Hare and Hounds pub has brought a once derelict building back to life.
“It was a challenge from start to finish but working closely with Bolton at Home and Bolton Council we managed to complete the refurb in March 2014 to deliver a complex of affordable rental properties for the local community.
“As a local based contractor and developer we were very privileged to have completed such a project here in Bolton, and look forward to continuing the relationship on the next project.”
John Hales, 62, a grandfather of eight was one of the first tenants to move in at Jayden House. He said: “It’s smashing for me as I’m on my own and it’s affordable. I occasionally came here when it was a pub. I didn’t have a place of my own before this and wondered where I was going to go. I was so excited to move in. I love it and my sons have said that they’re over the moon for me.”
So far 26 properties have been brought back to life under the Empty to Plenty scheme, with a target to complete another 28 by the end of the year.
Councillor Kate Lewis, Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “There’s a wide range of reasons why a property might be empty and one of the council’s priorities is to bring empty properties back into use. We try and do this, where possible, by working closely with owners like Pragnesh.
“It’s clear from speaking to the people who’ve now moved into these properties that they have provided a much needed lifeline.”
Bolton at Home and the council have so far secured around 200 properties under their lease management service, which can help landlords and developers who have properties requiring investment in internal repairs.
In exchange, Bolton at Home takes on the management of properties for a minimum of five years and will provide landlords and developers with a guaranteed rental income.
It can also help people who own an empty house, such as those who have a spare home that they cannot sell, or those who have inherited a home and do not know what to do with it.
For more information about lease management, please call 01204 338721 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org