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Beccles children’s home to be sold on housing market for £750,000

PUBLISHED: 16:30 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:55 27 February 2020

Nick Gowrley, Conservative cabinet member for housing, said Elizabeth House in Beccles was no longer suitable as a children's home and a replcement would be found. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Nick Gowrley, Conservative cabinet member for housing, said Elizabeth House in Beccles was no longer suitable as a children's home and a replcement would be found. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Suffolk County Council

A children’s home in Beccles is to be sold and a replacement site found because costs for repairs will be too high.

Penny Otton from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group said the new home needed future proofing. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPenny Otton from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group said the new home needed future proofing. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council carried out a review of all its residential homes last year, and found that Elizabeth House children's home in Beccles was "not fit for purpose".

According to the council's report, the Edwardian building is in a poor state of repair and required "substantial remedial works" at an estimated cost of £325,000 not including decorating and furniture.

The council's cabinet on Tuesday agreed to pursue plans to buy a new home and sell the existing building.

Conservative cabinet member for housing, economic development and enterprise, Nick Gowrley, said: "The review found that Elizabeth House in Beccles could be a wonderful family home with refurbishment but it's just not suitable for a children's home.

"It was determined that the best solution would be to find a new property in the area, make any necessary alterations, move our children in and then sell Elizabeth House.

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"Elizabeth House is in a sought after area and the team is confident it will sell well.

"Other options have been considered and we have ruled out building a new home as that would take too long. We have also ruled out leasing a property as that would leave us without a capital asset."

According to the council, buying and moving into a new home and making the necessary alterations will take between nine months and a year.

The estimated value of Elizabeth House is £750,000, according to the council report.

A new house has not yet been found, but with cabinet approval on Tuesday work can now get underway to find a suitable property.

Penny Otton, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: "It's important that the location of such a property is taken into consideration.

"It needs to be a fairly large property and therefore we would not want it out in the sticks so children are not away from communities.

"It's important the accommodation is suitable, not just for current children but future-proofed for any children that may need to be housed there in future."

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