PlaceFirst begins Morecambe development

Contractor Rowlinson has started on site to deliver a £5.5m refurbishment project for build-to-rent developer PlaceFirst in the West End area of the town.

The project, undertaken in partnership with Lancaster City Council, will see 29 empty guesthouses converted into 51 houses and apartments surrounding a central courtyard. On completion, PlaceFirst will own and operate the properties as part of its portfolio of affordable rental homes. There will be 10 four-bedroom houses, 12 three-bedroom apartments, 26 two-bedroom apartments, and three one-bedroom apartments.

The site is bounded by Regent Road, Chatsworth Road, Albert Road, and Westminster Road. The 29 properties were acquired by Lancaster City Council with funding from the Homes & Communities Agency.

David Smith-Milne, managing director of Manchester-based PlaceFirst, said: "It's great to see work starting on site and real change being delivered in the West End of Morecambe. This area has a rich heritage and we're thrilled that we are preserving its history whilst bringing the properties into the 21st century. The plans for the new homes look great and will provide much needed affordable family accommodation backed up by a first rate landlord service. Interest in the project to date has been very positive with over 100 enquiries prior to the launch of a marketing campaign which we aim to launch this summer".

Andrew Dobson, chief officer for regeneration at Lancaster City Council, said: "The regeneration of Morecambe's West End is a key priority for the council and it's testament to a lot of hard work behind the scenes that we have secured a development partner of the quality of PlaceFirst to deliver this scheme.

"We now have the opportunity to make a real difference in both changing the perception of the West End and also its attractiveness to families as a great place to live."

Architects on the scheme are PlaceFirst Architects, employers agent are Appleyard & Trew.

Upon completion of the 51 new homes, PlaceFirst plan to undertake a similar refurbishment scheme on an adjacent block of large terraced properties.

The project is the fourth rental housing development project in Lancashire being undertaken by PlaceFirst involving the remodelling of Victorian properties. The company is currently delivering a regeneration scheme in Woodnook, Accrington, including the refurbishment of more than 100 properties and new public realm interventions, and recently completed the refurbishment of 27 properties in Colne, Lancashire.

The first homes are due to come to market in December 2015, with full completion anticipated in July 2016.

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