A local listed building, which was problematic for nearby residents, has been drastically improved with the help of Derby City Council’s empty homes and housing standards teams.

61 Church Street in Normanton had been badly managed for some years, attracting illegal activity such as drug use, prostitution and other criminal behaviour from occupants.

61 Church street building before renovation

Initial action was taken by the police to close individual flats in the building as a result of some of the unwelcome practices, with the next step being the housing standards team serving a prohibition notice to vacate the remainder of the property as it was deemed unsuitable for occupation.

Regular illegal practices resulted in individual flats being closed by the police, the vacation of the whole building subsequently being enforced via the diligence of the council’s housing standards team because of the poor and deteriorating housing standards, and severe fire damage.

The building changed hands on a couple of occasions but a progress towards the renovation appropriate to a re-occupation proved elusive, and sadly the demolition of the attractive, landmark building appeared to be becoming inevitable.

A new owner subsequently took the building on and the present owners completed necessary improvements with the assistance of a council ’empty homes’ loan, which helped with the cost of the renovations. The building now comprises 8 small, self-contained flats.

New kitchen at 61 Church street after renovation

Councillor Fareed Hussain, Cabinet Member for Urban Renewal, said:

“The rejuvenation of this accommodation is welcomed as it not only helps meet the particular housing needs of this area of the city, but removes the illegal activity that was once taking place there.

Work is taking place in Normanton to encourage residents to take pride in their streets, and work with us to make improvements to the area. The refurbishment of what was once a problem property will go a long way to helping this particular area.”

Derby City Council Empty Homes Service is committed to bringing empty homes back into use to meet housing demand across the city and is sometimes able to offer interest-free loans to either assist with necessary renovations of the worst, or alternatively help owners let or sell empty homes for subsequent renovation by a purchaser.