A former vicarage being converted into temporary accommodation for homeless people in Ashford, Kent, is being insulated with Actis Hybrid products.
The property, due to be opened in the spring, will be converted into eight homes capable of accommodating 25 people at a time, offering a more stable and cost-effective alternative to B&B accommodation for those without a roof over the heads.
The 26-week refurbishment, which includes the creation of a wheelchair accessible unit, will also see the addition of a communal kitchen, dining room and laundry room.
Christchurch Lodge, which is costing the council around £930,000 to buy and refurbish, is the second home of its type to be provided by Ashford Borough Council in its fight to reduce homelessness and its attendant hardship and misery in the area.
Its sister home, Christchurch House, featured on TV’s Homes under the Hammer before the council bought it, and has been running for five years. Since it opened its doors, it has provided a safe haven for 180 households while they seek more permanent housing.
The money saved by accommodating homeless people there rather than in B&Bs – which cost around £268 a week for a small family – means the first project paid for itself in less than four years.
The council expects this latest home to deliver similar savings for local council tax payers.
Project Delivery Surveyor, Darren Parrett, who is supervising the refurbishment, chose Actis Hybrid products after taking part in a CPD session three years ago on their ability to reduce thermal bridging.
Jenner Contractors, which is carrying out the conversion, is using honeycomb-style Actis Hybrid insulation and the H Control Hybrid insulating vapour control layer to ensure it is as thermally efficient as possible. This will make it warm for the occupants, minimise heating bills and reduce CO2 emissions.
Actis South East and London Area Sales Manager Liane Bayliss explained: “Remembering the course he went on, Darren decided Actis products were ideal for this project, and everyone on site is really enjoying using them – from the ease of storage to the fact that they’re convenient to manoeuvre, to the cleanliness and fit.”
Cllr Bill Barrett, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said tackling homelessness was a huge priority for the authority. He said both the prevention of homelessness and using the council’s own stock to house homeless people, rather than using costly B&Bs, made financial sense.
He explained: “Following the blueprint of Christchurch House represents a win-win strategy. For five years it has offered households a better solution than the upheaval of living out of a B&B. It is also good news that the council has saved considerable sums of money it would have had to pay in B&B costs. We are proud of the proactive approach we take to delivering new housing projects.”