Plans for £9m Mill Hill development

Jewish Blind & Disabled says latest project will help to meet rising demand


As the country was preparing to enter its first lockdown, Jewish Blind & Disabled completed the purchase of a new property in Mill Hill East for a £9 million project.

The initial plan was to remodel the existing building to provide up to 30 one-bedroom apartments for those with physical disability or visual impairment.

A year on, following extensive consultations, the charity has instead decided to embark on a total redevelopment of the site as a higher quality and more cost-effective way forward.

The proposed two-tone brick building will have a contemporary feel designed to reflect the character of the local neighbourhood.

It will provide 23 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom mobility apartments, an overnight studio apartment for the house manager and a range of communal facilities such as a laundry, lounge, garden and roof terrace.

Features of the flats include accessible fitted kitchens and walk-in shower rooms big enough to accommodate wheelchairs. There will also be tenants’ parking.

Following a “positive” advance meeting with Barnet Council, the charity will submit its planning application next month. The hope is to have planning approved and contractors appointed by the end of the year with building work starting early in 2022. Construction is expected to take 18 months.

JBD chair John Joseph said the focus would now be on raising “a further £4.5 million for this development. This is JBD’s largest capital appeal to date but we remain confident that thanks to ongoing support from our generous donors and the wider community, this is achievable”.

JBD chief executive Lisa Wimborne added that there was huge need for the extra places.

“What I have found hardest throughout the pandemic is the calls and letters from people in the community who we have been unable to support. We look forward to bringing our eighth development to life and changing more lives across the community.”

Although JBD clients range in age from 30 to 99, the average age of tenants in its two existing Barnet developments is 70. The average length of tenancy in the Barnet properties is 6.5 years but with several tenants having been with the charity for 20-plus years, “our waiting list in the area continues to grow”, Ms Wimborne pointed out. “This development will help to meet current and future needs.”

JBD currently has 360 tenants in its London and surrounding area developments.

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