A topping out ceremony has been held at longstanding Leeds charity, St George’s Crypt’s second purpose-built development that will offer a home to people who have previously struggled to maintain a tenancy as they prepare to live independently.
The development, which has been designed by Leeds based Brewster Bye Architects, consists of 24, one and two bedroom apartments on Hedley Chase in New Wortley. It has been developed in partnership with Leeds City Council, which is providing low cost loan facilities as well as financing 30% of the capital costs through its Right to Buy Replacement Programme. Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire is the principal contractor.
Representatives from St George’s Crypt, Brewster Bye and Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire, as well as MP Rachel Reeves, were all on site for the topping out ceremony.
The development has now been named Don Robins House, after the priest who established St George’s Crypt in 1930, when he transformed the Crypt beneath St George’s Church in Leeds into a kitchen and shelter for those in need. The charity is still based in the same location today and has become the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas.
Chris Fields, CEO at St George’s Crypt, said: “We know from experience that people can make positive changes and turn their lives around when they have a safe and stable home, as well as the right support. That’s exactly what this development will offer people who have previously had problems maintaining a tenancy.
“It will provide genuinely affordable homes and relevant support through St George’s Crypt, to people as they prepare to live independently and return to work. It will change people’s lives and it’s a huge achievement for everyone involved in its construction to see it reach the topping out stage.”
Nathan Wilkinson, a director at Brewster Bye Architects, said: “Despite the challenges that Covid-19 has presented, the entire team have made fantastic progress on this development. We’re now on track for the development to open early next year and there’s no doubt it will become a superb place to live for people as they set about improving their lives.”
Rachel Reeves, the MP for Leeds West said: “St George’s Crypt does crucial work for the community and for homeless people, and I am delighted to be here for the topping out ceremony. This is important work to help support people out of homelessness, and I congratulate the team on their brilliant efforts.”
Last September work completed on St George’s Crypt’s first development at Regent Lodge in Hyde Park near Headingley. The scheme, which was a first for Leeds, is now home to 14 residents with alcohol dependency issues, who all live in self-contained studio apartments. Earlier this year it was named Yorkshire’s best residential development at the inaugural Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Social Impact Awards.