Work completes on pioneering new homes development in Leeds

Don Robins House

Work is now complete on an innovative new homes development in Leeds, built for people in uncertain housing situations, which makes it the first of its kind in the city.

Developed by longstanding Leeds homeless charity, St George’s Crypt, and designed by Brewster Bye Architects, the development consists of 24, one and two bedroom, apartments on Hedley Chase in New Wortley.

Don Robins House, which is named after the priest who established St George’s Crypt in 1930, has been developed in partnership with Leeds City Council, which provided low cost loan facilities as well as financing 30 per cent of the capital costs through its Right to Buy Replacement Programme. Property industry charity, LandAid, which works to end youth homelessness in the UK, also provided a £75,000 grant for the development.

Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire was the principal contractor, and the development will officially open and welcome its first residents next month. Seven of the apartments have been specifically adapted for disabled residents and two homes will be allocated to people under the age of 25.

Nathan Wilkinson, a director at Brewster Bye Architects, which has supported St George’s Crypt for more than 20 years, said: “Financing and delivering this development was no mean feat but the support that we’ve received from the city’s property industry has been phenomenal. To now see the finished development is a major triumph for everyone involved.

“It looks spectacular and will be genuinely life-changing for people in Leeds. We’re now working with St George’s Crypt to identify other potential sites in and around the city that offer the potential to create similar schemes.”

Chris Fields, CEO at St George’s Crypt, said: “We’re elated to complete work at Don Robins House. It’s amazing to think that since our inception 90 years ago, we’ve gone from offering a kitchen and shelter to those in need in the Crypt beneath St George’s Church in Leeds, to providing purpose-built new homes to people.

“As well as living at Don Robins House for two years, residents will benefit from support and guidance via the development’s training room, where they will develop the confidence and ability to live independently and return to work, which will make living here a unique opportunity.”

Support and advice for Don Robins House also came from Leeds city living specialist, Jonathan Morgan and Joel Owen from First Choice Homes. In addition, financial support was provided by Crypt Factor, the annual charity singing competition, which the region’s property industry hosts and attends.

Don Robins House is St George’s Crypt’s second purpose-built development following the completion of Regent Lodge in Hyde Park near Headingley in 2019, also designed by Brewster Bye.

The scheme, which was another first for Leeds, is now supporting 14 residents with alcohol dependency issues on the slow road to recovery. They all live in self-contained studio apartments, designed to aid in the development of life skills, boost self-confidence and build self-esteem in a structured setting. Last year it was named Yorkshire’s best residential development at the inaugural RICS Social Impact Awards.

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