Making a house a home: Delighted residents move into Glenross following renovation

For many years it was empty and falling into disrepair - but this week Glenross House in Kilburn became a home once more.

Excited residents previously in temporary accommodation signed their tenancy agreements to occupy one of 18 flats on Belsize Road, which are made up of studios, one-bed and two-bed flats.

Together with the renovation of Felbridge House – also on Belsize Road – Camden Council is set to bring 36 homes back into use. In the last five years the Council has returned a total of 430 empty privately-owned homes into use.

Glenross House first became empty in 2007 when it was owned by Network Rail and leased to Camden Council. However, with the flats completely uninhabitable, and repairs needed to the tune of over £1m, it wasn’t until the Council secured a deal with Atlantic Lodge (Housing) Ltd last year that the funds were available to get the flats back into use.

One of the Glenross’ new residents, Vanessa Morris, is delighted to be moving in with her grand-daughter after spending two years in a hostel.

Vanessa, who joked that her family had “already booked their place for Christmas dinner” at the new home, said: “It's going to make so much difference. Somewhere where I can finally say it's mine.

“I was so shocked when I walked in, I just burst into tears at the size of this property and after living in one room for nearly two years, I feel like I’m in heaven to be honest, someone up there is looking over me.”

Councillor Pat Callaghan, Cabinet Member for Housing at Camden Council, said: “We’re determined to provide Camden residents with affordable and secure homes. Getting empty homes back into use can be a complex and expensive process, and with a London-wide housing crisis, we must have greater support from Government to tackle the scandal of unoccupied homes. We’ll also continue to build housing for all through our Community Investment Programme, while providing genuinely affordable private rents through our housing company Camden Living.”