Abandoned women’s hostel to be transformed into social housing

Joan Lestor House

Work is under way to transform a derelict former women’s hostel in Salford into social housing.

Joan Lestor House, on Ellesmere Street, Little Hulton, has stood empty for more than five years, becoming a target for anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Housing association Salix Homes bought the site last year and is now converting it into nine modern, one and two bedroom apartments for social housing rent.

Salix Homes is working alongside its partner, contractor Emanuel Whittaker, to completely remodel the building and transform the eyesore site, which has become a blight in the local community.

Lee Sugden, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “We are delighted to announce the start of work at Joan Lestor House, which has stood vacant for more than five years.

“It’s such a shame to see these sorts of buildings left to go to rack and ruin when for a little investment they could be transformed into desperately needed housing, and this project is just one of several Salix Homes is involved with across Salford to re-purpose empty buildings into homes.

“We desperately need more of the right types of homes that people can afford and our investment at Joan Lestor House will bring nine, modern homes to the social housing market at a time when there isn’t nearly enough social housing being built.

“We are also confident that the local community will be relieved to see this abandoned site, which has become a real eyesore in the area, finally occupied and given a new lease of life.”

The £800,000 project has been partially funded thanks to a £234,000 grant from the Homes England Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

Joan Lestor House, which was originally named after the Labour MP, Baroness Lestor of Eccles, was built in 1999 and provided a refuge for single, homeless women until it closed down.

Clive Newton, managing director at Emanuel Whittaker, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership once again with Salix Homes on another important regeneration project in Salford.

“We know it will make an immense impact on the neighbourhood and provide much-needed social housing for local people.”

In the past three years, Salix Homes has spearheaded several projects to bring to life empty buildings, which includes a derelict homeless hostel in Kersal – The Hive – which is now providing homes for young people; and a former sheltered housing complex – Alexander Gardens in Broughton – which is providing homes for workers at Salford Royal Hospital.

Work is now under way onsite and is expected to be complete by next Summer.