Group hoping to show ‘miracles can happen’ in appeal to save affordable housing for Framlingham’s young people

The Flagship owned properties in College Road, Framlingham. Picture: ANDREW HIRST

The Flagship owned properties in College Road, Framlingham. Picture: ANDREW HIRST - Credit: Archant

A community group is hoping a “miracle” will help it save affordable flats in a Suffolk town – after members were given just four months to raise £275,000.

Hour Community, which helps people in the Framlingham area, wants to buy Flagship Housing’s complex of six one-bed flats in College Road, after it emerged the social landlord had applied to redevelop the properties.

After six months of lobbying, Nick Corke, a founding member of Hour Community, said Flagship made an offer in December to sell the property – but with a deadline of April 1.

Although Flagship said its proposals would include affordable homes, Mr Corke remains concerned it would be a lost opportunity for the town.

“The need for secure one-bedroom flats has never been greater and especially in places such as Framlingham where the majority of young people have been priced out of the market,” he said.

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“Hour Community want to save this building for the community but with the time scale they have been given it is going to take a miracle.

“So in an attempt to prove miracles can happen, we are asking ‘is there anyone out there who would be prepared to help save this building for the benefit of the community?

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“Or are there perhaps 300 people who would be prepared to donate £1000 each, or perhaps 600 people at £500 each, or even 300,000 at £1 each?”

The site was bought by Suffolk Heritage Housing Association, which later became Flagship Housing, in 1991 and converted into six flats. They housed young people, some of whom came straight from the care system.

Recently, the flats have remained empty and fallen in to disrepair.

Otley College has offered to refurbish the flats as part of its apprenticeship scheme, while Marshall Hatchick Solicitors would provide free conveyancing.

Hour Community also plans to apply for some of Framlingham’s Community Infrastructure Levy funding.

Mr Corke also hopes developers building homes in the town, might consider donating materials as a “kind of DIY SOS project”.

He warned that if funds cannot be raised the building would be demolished and replaced with three two-bed houses, meaning Hour Community’s hopes to retain one-bedroom flats for young people, along with an office and training room, would be lost.

Framlingham town councillors welcomed Hour Community’s intentions at a meeting last year.

Responding after the meeting, Flagship, offered assurances there will be affordable homes and said its priority is providing homes for people in need.

Anyone interesting in helping Hour Community can contact Mr Corke on 07860 673700 or by emailing him.

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