How new 81-home development is helping Watford's homeless

The new development of 81 homes in Whippendell Road in Watford <i>(Image: Hightown Housing Association)</i>
The new development of 81 homes in Whippendell Road in Watford (Image: Hightown Housing Association)

An affordable housing development being built in Watford is nearing completion.

Hightown Housing Association’s scheme in Whippendell Road is delivering 81 homes on a site that was formerly the base for an electrical engineering firm.

Of the 81 homes, 45 are for rent for people who have been nominated by Watford Borough Council, while the remaining 36 are for shared ownership.

Read more: Parents and neighbours clash over 'nightmare' school parking

The development, which was approved in 2018, is almost finished with 27 flats for shared ownership due to be handed over at the beginning of December.

Three blocks that have been constructed are called Sonar House, Compass House, and Seaborne House, which Hightown says reflects the site's history as a place where naval and marine applications were produced.

Whippendell Marine Ltd relocated from Whippendell Road to Milton Keynes with the existing building demolished.

Watford Observer: The building that was demolished to make way for Hightown's scheme
Watford Observer: The building that was demolished to make way for Hightown's scheme

The building that was demolished to make way for Hightown's scheme (Image: Google Street View)

Among those who have moved into the new development so far is ex-army veteran Jon, who had been sleeping in his car for five months following a relationship breakdown.

Personal trainer Jon said: "I can't put into words how magnificent this is. It's going to change my life. I get to share weekends with my daughter now so I'm a very happy man. It's a little bit different to sleeping in the car.

“I feel very lucky and fortunate that my new home will give me a platform to enjoy the rest of my life."

Read more: Plans for 22 new homes in Whippendell Road

Watford Observer: New resident Jon
Watford Observer: New resident Jon

New resident Jon (Image: Hightown Housing Association)

Single males like Jon make up 28% of households in need of homelessness prevention from Watford Borough Council, according to the Office for National Statistics Statutory Homelessness Annual report for 2021-22.

Jon’s flat was a special milestone for Hightown because it was the 8,000th home the housing association has delivered.

Watford Observer: Jon's flat is the 8,000th home completed by Hightown
Watford Observer: Jon's flat is the 8,000th home completed by Hightown

Jon's flat is the 8,000th home completed by Hightown (Image: Hightown Housing Association)

Chief executive David Bogle said: "Reaching our 8,000th home is a significant milestone for Hightown and it's fitting that it is in Watford, one of our key areas in Hertfordshire.

“Hightown has grown quickly to respond to the urgent need for more affordable housing – around 3,000 of our homes have been built in the last six years.

“We plan to continue to build over 500 affordable homes a year to help people like Jon and tackle the current homelessness and housing crisis."

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