Chelmsford charity faces second eviction in two years over county council housing plans

A Chelmsford-based children’s charity is having to move from the base it has called home for just a year – because Essex County Council (ECC) plans to develop it for housing.

It will be the second time that Kids Inspire has had to move due to ECC plans for housing.

ECC says Hargrave House – which has been where Kids Inspire has operated from since September 2019 – will provide a mix of good quality private sale and affordable units “which are much needed in the locality”.

The proposal is for around 17 residential properties, 10 private and seven affordable, to be developed by Essex Housing and sold to generate capital receipts for ECC.

This option will also include the development of a community facility which will be retained to generate a rental income for ECC.

Essex Housing, ECC’s housing development team, was established in 2016 by public sector partners throughout Essex to identify and bring forward land and assets for development.

Kids Inspire, which supports children and young people recovering from traumatic experiences or dealing with emerging mental health difficulties in Essex, had been asked to leave the site in Fox Crescent when St Peter’s College closed back in 2011.

The former St Peter’s College site is among Essex Housing’s development schemes. The plan includes up to 180 affordable and private sale family homes.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Essex County Council has been in discussion with Kids Inspire during the decision process, meeting with them on several occasions to understand their needs.

“We will continue to work closely with them to ensure no disruption to their activity and continuity of their operations. The development proposals aim to provide a new community facility which would be suitable for Kids Inspire to relocate into.”

Kids Inspire was contacted for comment.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter