North East & Yorkshire

All in a day’s work: WWII bombs and an archaeological dig for The Crossings homeless centre

NE YORKS SA THE CROSSINGA new £5m centre that will provide temporary accommodation, support and training for homeless people has opened its doors at Great Union Street, Hull.

Community regeneration specialist Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) completed the project for Riverside-ECHG following a 12-month construction project that included searches for unexploded World War II bombs and an archaeological dig for Roman artefacts. Riverside-ECHG and local charity HULLHARP will now take over the running of the scheme.

The new centre has 46 beds and will provide health services and employment skills training to residents, along with a community cafe that will also be open to the public. The development has been designed with high levels of insulation and low air permeability in order to provide an energy efficient building fabric. Solar thermal hot water heating, air source heat pumps, under floor heating, MVHR, low energy lights, high efficiency gas back up boilers and rainwater harvesting for the flushing toilets are also included to reduce running costs. The architects for the project were Browne Smith Baker, one of the Northeast’s leading architectural groups.

FHM’s Project Manager, Gary Williams, said: “This is a project that we are very proud of. The land The Crossings is built on has a very rich history. It has been inhabited by Roman communities and was repeatedly bombed during WWII. This meant that a lot of work was we needed before we could even begin the development.NE YORKS SA THE CROSSING

“We used bomb disposal experts to excavate the site and catered for archaeologists who wanted to carry out digs for Roman artefacts before we could begin to take down the engineering works that were on the site.

“It is fantastic to see The Crossings completed and I’m sure it is going to play an important role in supporting the local community.”

The idea behind the scheme is not just to provide homeless people with somewhere to stay, but to help them find a job and their own permanent property. The cafe will be ran as a social enterprise and staffed by volunteers who have suffered different types of homelessness. It will be open Monday to Friday and will be open to the public as well as residents of The Crossing. It is hoped that the cafe will attract other agencies working on homeless issues as well as members of the public.

In April 2011, homeless people from the Roper Street hostel helped to bury a time capsule – containing high-visibility jackets, images of Hull, artefacts from the city’s bombing in World War II and a photograph of one of the resident’s children. Later that month, homeless people from the city took part in a training programme in which they were allowed on the site to help work on finishing the building, for instance painting and decorating.

Gary Williams’ extensive preparation work for the development has earned him a series of health and safety awards. He received a commended and a highly commended award in the multi-storey category of the National House-Building Council’s (NHBC) Health and Safety Awards, and was then crowned as the regional winner for the development. He has also been shortlisted for a NHBC Pride in the Job award.

He said: “The awards highlighted how much emphasis we needed to put on health and safety preparation. This was a complex build with many obstacles to overcome.”

Development Manager for Riverside-ECHG, Andrew Williamson, praised FHM’s work on the project. He said: “FHM’s strong project management process ensured the timely delivery of the scheme and importantly gave the opportunity for our clients to gain basic construction skills raining by working alongside FHM’s own workmen towards the final stages of the build process.”

He concluded by saying: “The finished scheme is a credit to all those who have been involved in the project.”

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