THURROCK Council is set to launch a £26million scheme to create 82 affordable homes in former council offices.
With councillors set to move into newly built extension to civic offices plans are being drawn up to convert the now vacant older part of council office building in Grays.
A report to councillors on the housing overview and scrutiny committee said: “The proposal to develop the civic offices for residential accommodation is consistent with ambitions in the Grays Town Centre Framework with regard to bringing forward new development in this area with the increased residential population supporting the vitality of the shopping centre and local business. “Design development through the planning process will recognise the relationship of this proposal to nearby Seabrook Rise estate to ensure the proposal is compatible in overall design, scale and massing.”
If the scheme gets the go ahead, architects will draw up plans but they face challenges according to the report. The site is near a railway line and a road bridge bringing challenges in ensuring air quality and noise protection.
The proximity of passenger and goods trains to the building will also require careful consideration of the impact of vibration on foundation design.
Parking will be limited and may include an underground car park. A roof garden may be included to provide outdoor space for residents.
The scheme will be funded with £10.5million from retained right-to-buy receipts and housing revenue account borrowing of £15.6million.
All of the homes will be rented at below 80 per cent market rents to meet the definition of affordable homes.
If approved a planning application could be submitted by June this year and construction would begin in 2023 and be completed by 2025.
The wraps will soon come off the the new civic offices which the council said are in a “modern energy-efficient building with a cafe, register office with ceremonial gardens for weddings, a new council chamber and public gallery and meeting rooms for council and community use”.
The building was due to open in January but covid brought delays in contractors completing work and delays in deliveries.