Former homeless hostel could be converted to social housing in Harrogate
May 2, 2023
Cavendish House on Robert Street in Harrogate.
Cavendish House on Robert Street in Harrogate.

Plans have been submitted to convert a Harrogate former homeless hostel into social housing.

Last summer, Harrogate Borough Council unveiled plans to build a modest number of social homes at seven sites it owns across the district.

The plans included converting Cavendish House on Robert Street which was operated by the council from 1983 until November 2021 when it closed.

In 2021, the council opened a new homeless centre called Fern House in Starbeck.

The former Robert Street hostel had nine bedsits, which in plans registered last week would be converted into six self-contained apartments.

Average house prices are around 11 times the median annual income of people who work in Harrogate and it has made the area one of the most unaffordable places to live in England.

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In planning documents published before it was abolished at the end of March, Harrogate Borough Council said converting Cavendish House would make a small dent in its social housing waiting list, which now features over 2,100 households.

In 1974, the council owned 7,000 council houses across the Harrogate district but this has fallen to 3,800 since the Conservative government introduced the Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s.

Planning documents state:

“The building was utilised previously as temporary accommodation for single homeless households, however it is no longer fit for purpose and does not meet the needs of this client group (Fern House, a new facility for the same client group, has recently been completed at Spa Lane).

“The building has been empty since November 2021. As such, it has a negative impact on residential amenity and increasingly risks attracting anti-social behaviour.

“The development proposals will deliver much needed affordable accommodation in a redundant building and a highly sustainable location, complying full with national and local planning policy guidance.”

In March, plans were approved to build one two-bedroom social home at a council-owned plot of land in Huby.

The council also hopes to develop a site on Halfpenny Lane in Knaresborough into 14 homes for market sale, social rent and shared ownership.

North Yorkshire Council, which succeeded Harrogate Borough Council, will make a decision on the plan at a later date.