A PLAN to transform a derelict listed building in Basingstoke into housing for vulnerable people in the borough has been approved by councillors.
Chapter 1, a charity which specialises in providing accommodation and support for vulnerable people, has been working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council on proposals to convert Chineham House, Shakespeare Road, Popley, into residential accommodation.
The charity has been working with planning officers at the borough council, which owns the building, on proposals to provide 10 units at the building, including a mix of studios and one and two-bedroom flats.
The building has been empty since 2011, when it was occupied by Stonham Housing Association. A marketing period was set up in early 2013 to see if companies would be interested in leasing the building on a commercial basis but no offers were made.
Borough councillors agreed a budget of £102,000 for 2014-15 at the latest full council meeting for remedial work to be carried out to bring the building back up to standard.
Chapter 1 has been allocated a £100,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency to help with the project but has been told it will need to deliver the scheme by March 2015 to receive the funds.
Councillor David Potter, a ward councillor for Popley East, told The Gazette: “Our position is a reluctant acceptance that the proposal in relation to Chapter 1 is the best that we will be able to secure, and we want Chineham House to function.
“It has been out of action for a long time and it is an asset to Basingstoke that we want to see up and running. We would have wished for a much more community-based use but we have not been able to secure that.”
Cllr Cathy Osselton, cabinet member for partnerships, said: “Developing Chineham House allows us, working with our partner Chapter 1, an opportunity to help people in the borough who need homes by creating a great place to live whilst also bringing one of our listed buildings back into use.
“I thank the local councillors who have been working with us to help make sure that the best use of this beautiful building is made for the local community.”