Disused town centre hotel could be converted into flats for the homeless

Date published: 17 March 2021

A disused hotel in Rochdale town centre could be converted into flats for homeless people.

The former Broadfield Park Hotel –  named after the Grade-II listed park it stands in – closed its doors last year, despite undergoing a major revamp back in 2013.

Dating back to the early 20th century, it was originally built on the site of the old grammar school, as a nurses’ hall of residence.

Now it could return to its original residential use after the Fairhome Group lodged plans to convert the three-storey building into 31 new apartments for ‘affordable rent’.

The Salford-based company is a national provider of independent living for some of the most vulnerable in society.

A design and access statement submitted with its planning application says the ‘tumultuous events’ of the last 12 months have worsened social and economic uncertainty.

“There is a requirement for new affordable housing to meet the needs of homeless people in Rochdale, as there is across the country,” it adds.

“The Broadfield Park Hotel’s previously established use as hotel accommodation means that the property can easily be adapted to the change of use proposed without harm to local character, without harm to the living conditions of occupiers or neighbours and without harm to highway safety.”

“These changes will bring about positive benefits in respect of local character and heritage conservation.”

The proposed conversion would provide 22 one-bedroom flats and nine studio flats for future occupants, at the former Sparrow Hill hotel.

These would include kitchen and en-suite facilities, ‘providing modern, attractive, affordable living accommodation for people in need’.

There would also be a reception/concierge area, shower rooms and storage facilities. 

The Fairhome Group says it will work in partnership with a ‘registered provider’, which would manage the apartments .

New residents would enter into a two-year renewable tenancy agreement – encouraging them to ‘form lasting links with, and to care for, their local community’.

This would also include a 28-day eviction period should the ‘house rules’ be broken.

There would be no change to the size of the building, while the majority of the proposals involve the modernisation of facilities and alterations to the internal layout. 

However, prominent advertisements and signs which ‘detract from the character and appearance of the area’ would be removed.

The 2,485 square metre site would retain its 34 parking spaces, although few – if any residents – are expected to drive or have a car.

The application claims there would be fewer car journeys to and from the site, so the development would have no impact on road safety.

A decision on the proposal will be made by Rochdale council.

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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