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Former Cambridge homeless hostel in Willow Walk for sale for more than £2.25million





A former hostel in central Cambridge that has housed people affected by homelessness for 150 years is for sale for in excess of £2.25million.

17-19 Willow Walk, a former hostel in central Cambridge that has housed people affected by homelessness for 150 years, is offer with Cheffins for in excess of £2.25million. Picture: Cheffins
17-19 Willow Walk, a former hostel in central Cambridge that has housed people affected by homelessness for 150 years, is offer with Cheffins for in excess of £2.25million. Picture: Cheffins

The grade II-listed building at 17-19 Willow Walk is owned The Riverside Group, one of the country’s leading providers of social housing, and it is selling the building following a trend away from larger properties within the local authority.

It first became a hostel in the 1870s as a Church Army ‘lodging house.’ In 1987, a specialist homeless service was built on Victoria Road, which led to the closure of Willow Walk, but it was refurbished in 1990, with dormitories replaced by individual rooms. It was initially run by the Church Housing Association which later became part of The Riverside Group.

It was closed permanently as a supported housing scheme on June 30, 2022, as part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s ‘Streets to Home’ initiative.

On the market with Cheffins, the 7,000 sq ft premises was built in 1817 as part of a scheme designed by architect Charles Humfrey which encompasses Maids Causeway, Fair Street and Short Street.

17-19 Willow Walk first became a hostel in the 1870s. Picture: Cheffins
17-19 Willow Walk first became a hostel in the 1870s. Picture: Cheffins

Luke Davenport, associate at Cheffins, said: “17-19 Willow Walk has a fascinating history and has provided a secure environment for people affected by homelessness in Cambridge for many years. We will be working closely with The Riverside Group to find the most appropriate buyer for the building, which will add to the local economy and help with the regeneration of The Grafton centre area.

“Opportunities in Cambridge are consistently sought after by investors, mainly due to the lack of stock in prime city centre locations, and understandably we have already seen interest from local companies and further afield. This historic property has huge amounts of potential and is viable for a range of uses. We will look forward to seeing what the next chapter of its life will entail.”

The building consists of three parts with 20 bedrooms, six of which are en-suite, along with communal facilities including a reception, lounge areas, kitchens and WCs. The hostel formerly had four parking spaces on Willow Walk.

17-19 Willow Walk was closed permanently as a supported housing scheme in June 2022. Picture: Cheffins
17-19 Willow Walk was closed permanently as a supported housing scheme in June 2022. Picture: Cheffins

Simon Allcock, from The Riverside Group, said: “Over the decades many people who have fallen on tough times have found support and accommodation at 17-19 Willow Walk, turning things around and moving on to live more independent and fulfilling lives.

“In some areas the trend has been for commissioning of services to move away from larger city centre properties such as Willow Walk, and focus on smaller self-contained accommodation. That is why Riverside is putting Willow Walk on the market, so we can commit to providing more accommodation which meets these changing needs.”

For more information on the property, contact Luke Davenport at Cheffins at luke.davenport@cheffins.co.uk or 01223 271974.



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