Thomas Bridge 19 March 2013

Change of use strategy to create 1,200 social homes

Around 1,200 social homes could be created across the UK through a £50m office conversion programme, real estate managers have announced.

Over the next two years, the programme from Consensus Capital plc will provide city centre apartments for housing associations through 25 conversion projects.

The strategy will secure and subsequently convert central commercial properties into residential developments before they are leased to UK housing associations.

Manchester, Birmingham, London and Glasgow are all set to see change of use conversions under the strategy before the end of the year, with planning permission being granted for two developments in Edinburgh.

Already underway, the first project in Perth will convert a former office block into 18 apartments for Caledonia Housing Association.

Andrew Montague, managing director of Consensus Capital Property – which is leading the developments - said: ‘There is a huge under-supply of social housing as a direct consequence of the recession and the banks’ reluctance to provide lending to the property sector.

‘Due to lack of demand from the commercial sector, these office buildings have been lying empty. Now they are getting a new lease of life and providing much-needed homes as well as boosting the construction industry and generating new economic activity in the city locations.’

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