Plans to transform an abandoned housing estate, intended to house NHS staff, into 135 new council homes has been approved amid growing pressure over homelessness and the asylum backlog. 

The ‘ghost town’ in Evington, Leicester was originally built for NHS staff but was ‘left to rot’ for four years.

Hospital Close became a crime-ridden hotspot for fly-tippers, vandals and drug dealers after it was left abandoned in 2019.

But amid a soaring rise in the number of people facing homelessness in the city, plans to bring the street back into use have now been rubber-stamped.

The first phase of the project will see 11 two-bed semi-detached houses for three people, and 24 three-bed houses for four people.

Hospital Close, Leicester, a derelict NHS housing estate, which has now fallen into disrepair since NHS workers and their families left in 2019

Hospital Close, Leicester, a derelict NHS housing estate, which has now fallen into disrepair since NHS workers and their families left in 2019

Locals accused the local authority of 'neglecting' the remaining residents living there - and allowing the neighbourhood to descend into 'a warzone

Locals accused the local authority of ‘neglecting’ the remaining residents living there – and allowing the neighbourhood to descend into ‘a warzone

The site, which sits in the shadow of Leicester General Hospital, was earmarked for a £17m redevelopment after being purchased by Leicester City Council in 2021

The site, which sits in the shadow of Leicester General Hospital, was earmarked for a £17m redevelopment after being purchased by Leicester City Council in 2021

The buildings will transform into 14 two-bed flats for three people, 18 two-bed flats for up to four people, and 68 three-bed flats for up to four people. 

But people still living on the estate have questioned why it has taken so long to address the problem which made their lives ‘hell’.

Nearby resident Ashley Lewis, 33, said: ‘I’m glad the plans have taken a step forward but its taken far too long.

‘The council have dragged their heels over it and in the meantime, the area has just turned into a warzone. It’s been hell living here.

‘When they bought it, surely it becomes their responsibility, but they’ve just neglected the needs of the remaining residents there.’   

Four years ago University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust decided it could not afford to maintain the homes or upgrade them to modern standards.

The Trust issued eviction notices to hospital staff and health workers, including many nurses, living in the properties were forced to move out.

Since then, the remaining residents say they have been ‘forgotten about’ as the estate has also now become a hotspot for fly-tipping and other antisocial behaviour.

Leicester City Council, which faces a financial burden of £54m, previously declared a housing crisis in 2022. Since August of that year, it has reported an 87 per cent increase in the numbers of people facing homelessness.

It also comes amid reports that 1,000 people in Leicester will receive a decision on their asylum claim over the next few months as part of government efforts to clear backlogs.

‘It is estimated that the impact of the streamlined asylum process (SAP) on Leicester City Council could be in the region of £30m over the next two years if the council does not do anything,’ a report seen by Inside Housing said. 

Leicester became a designated dispersal city for the National Asylum Seeker Service – responsible for supporting and accommodating people seeking asylum while their cases are being dealt with – in 2016.

The estate, which locals say has fallen to wrack and ruin, will be transformed into council housing

The estate, which locals say has fallen to wrack and ruin, will be transformed into council housing

The site was formerly used to house NHS workers as well as hospital administrative offices

The site was formerly used to house NHS workers as well as hospital administrative offices

Metal boards placed in the windows of the abandoned estate have been smashed in, as locals complain vandalism in running rife in the area

Metal boards placed in the windows of the abandoned estate have been smashed in, as locals complain vandalism in running rife in the area

Locals living on the estate have questioned why it has taken so long to address the problem which made their lives a 'living hell'

Locals living on the estate have questioned why it has taken so long to address the problem which made their lives a ‘living hell’

The council also said last month that while it ‘successfully helps’ around two thirds of people at risk of homelessness, a shortage of properties means even the most urgent cases are spending longer and longer in temporary accommodation.

‘The combined effects of the cost of living crisis, escalating private sector rents and other increased costs means the council is facing a huge rise in people asking for help,’ a spokesperson added.

‘Currently over 300 families are housed in temporary accommodation and bed and breakfast.’

The council did not specify the circumstances leading to the rise in huge use of temporary accommodation. 

When asked why it had taken more than two years for the plans to be approved, a council spokesperson told the BBC the scheme was ‘ambitious and complex’.

The council told the BBC: ‘A lot of preparatory work has already been done, including new roofs, drainage surveys and asbestos removal.

‘With planning permission now in place, a contractor will be appointed in the coming weeks with major work expected to get under way in the summer.

‘We expect the first new homes to be ready to welcome tenants by the end of the year.’

You May Also Like

The Best Way To Cook Air Fryer Hot Dogs

Memorial Day is around the corner, and the most common way of…

What Is the '2-2-2 Method' for Weight Loss?

If you want to switch up your diet, we’re here to share…

10 Best Gentle Exercises To Strengthen Your Body as You Age

Keeping your body strong and active as you age is crucial for…

Here's How Many Daily Steps You Really Need to Lose Belly Fat

Walking is so much more than a way to get yourself from…