The LOWE Group’s latest partnership with Winchester City Council will see Coitbury House, in the Central Winchester Regeneration area, transform into short-term affordable guardian accommodation for local key workers and young professionals working in the area, following an extensive internal fit out.
Coitbury House, which would otherwise be vacant, will now provide affordable housing to around 18 young professionals and key workers. The guardians will keep the property secure and provide a deterrent for anti-social behaviour, as well as adding a sense of community to the area. Establishing a sense of community is an essential part of LOWE guardianship; The LOWE Group recruits socially responsible and reliable individuals who contribute to the surrounding community and stimulate local economies, and there is a strict vetting process for potential guardians in place to achieve this.
Guardian schemes have the advantage of providing accommodation in unaffordable locations. With the cost of private rental rising in Winchester, there is a need for affordable options.
Tim Lowe, Director & Founder of The LOWE Group said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Winchester City Council to open up much needed affordable housing opportunities for local key workers and young people in the heart of Winchester.”
LOWE was founded in 2016 with a mission to ensure buildings which are currently going through the planning process can still be put to good use. Tim continues, “We believe guardianship offers a unique opportunity to provide affordable housing with social impact. We always prioritise key workers within our properties and are keen to share this scheme with the Winchester community, so we can give back to those who keep our communities safe and thriving.”
An important priority for The LOWE Group is to fit out all properties to a high standard before guardians move in, and there is a rigorous programme in place of property maintenance, including monthly fire inspections throughout occupancy. Coitbury House is well-suited for guardian living; accommodation is set across three floors, each floor with its own kitchen, and a large, shared living area on the ground floor, ideal for communal working. Winchester also has excellent transport connections into central London, as well as Southampton and Portsmouth on the south coast.
This initiative will initially be targeted at local key workers who are helping to deliver essential services, such as health workers, teachers, social workers, and care workers, as well as creatives and young professionals taking the first steps in business.
Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Housing and Asset Management said:
“We are delighted to welcome LOWE, and the first of the guardians, to the city centre. It’s great to see Coitbury House open its doors to offer much needed affordable accommodation to young people and key workers bringing increased life to the heart of the city in line with the consultations we have done on the future of the area.
“The re-use of this building is one of the first steps we are taking to reinvigorate the Central Winchester area. Our plans for the wider site include new places to live, work and play, with high quality new homes, flexible workspaces, a thriving night-time economy and beautiful public spaces.”
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