Freebridge announces plan to close King’s Lynn’s Plaxtole House

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A housing association is being forced to close a building which provides transitional housing for students with learning difficulties in the autumn.

Freebridge Community Housing will be shutting Plaxtole House, in Goodwins Road, Lynn, to students in October but has stressed that the services will continue in different locations.

Plaxtole House helps 16- to 25-year-olds to leave home and learn important life skills with support from a dedicated team

Chief executive Tony Hall says he is “gutted” but the association has lost nearly £300,000 on the project.

Mr Hall says the 52 room building is too big for the number of students coming forward due to shrinking social care budgets.

The association and the Benjamin Foundation is now talking to the 17 students, their families and social workers to assess their needs to find alternative locations.

Freebridge took over Plaxtole House 18 months ago after it was facing closure as its previous owners, the College of West Anglia, was making budget cuts.

Mr Hall said he was passionate about the project. He said: “To say I’m devastated is an understatement. There is no threat to the service. The building may be closing but we are looking at ways to continue to provide the service.

“A lack of young people have been coming forward and I believe the reason for people not coming forward is the level of funding available.”

Freebridge has conducted some renovation of the site but its investment has mainly been spent on the day to day running costs of the large building. The heating bill alone is £50,000.

Mr Hall says the future use of Plaxtole House will be decided after suitable student accommodation has been found.

The college runs a number of courses at Plaxtole and will continue to do so until September 2015.

Richard Draper, chief executive of the Benjamin Foundation said: “We are extremely sad that the service at Plaxtole House will be closing. We will continue to work with each one of the 17 residents to ensure we find them new accommodation within one of our services or with another provider that suits their specific needs and ambitions.

“Our relationship with the residents will not cease just because Plaxtole House is no longer available.”