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My Norwich

A century of stories: a Goldsmith Street resident

“The fresh start and new beginning that I needed”

Story provided anonymously by a Goldsmith Street resident

Whilst I was waiting for affordable housing on the Home Options scheme I found out about the development and came to have a look for myself. In doing so I bumped into a long-term resident in a privately owned property who had lived here for years. He was extremely interested in the project and very well informed - I’d bumped into the right person. He welcomed the development, philosophy behind the designs and that it was all intended for social housing which I thought was a lovely positive and open attitude.

Following this I visited a couple of times and spoke to contractors about the dwellings and their general design. I became more impressed and intrigued, also a little sad that it was such a slim chance that I would be lucky enough to be allocated one of the single bedroom flats with an outside space (something I’d missed for so long). 

As a single lady with chronic health conditions and reduced income due to my circumstances I was aware that the future was looking quite challenging and in a lot of ways rather bleak. All my earnings were going toward the extortionate rent of my substandard privately rented flat in the local area.  I was barely able to make ends meet, making financial sacrifices that were negatively impacting my health and relying on friends for food and other necessities regularly. My standard of living was less than ideal.

So when I received the letter saying I had been shortlisted and was able to view one of the properties at Greyhounds Opening I didn’t sleep for over a week, my imagination and hope were gathering momentum and I was nervous I’d be disappointed. Regardless I couldn’t help but be excited. The viewing was amazing, it was love at first sight and I was passionate about the design, philosophy and concept behind the project. I wanted this beautiful Passivhaus flat that would turn my life around. 

Much to my crushing disappointment, I was unsuccessful and the flat went to someone in more need higher up on the waiting list. Crushed didn’t quite cover it, I was heartbroken, I’d realised just how raised my hopes had been and they were more than dashed. 

I continued to bid each week on the Home Options scheme on properties which were potentially cold, damp, run down and needed a lot of work, not to mention had high utility costs and as a result weren’t really going to improve my financial situation. I became a little deflated.

Eventually the remaining Passivhaus flats came up on the Home Options scheme and I placed my bid, forcing myself to ‘go through the motions’ with little to no hope of being successful. In fact, I put it to the back of my mind this time - to avoid the disappointment again. Only to receive a call inviting me to another viewing!  I almost didn’t attend as it felt like a waste of my time, energy (something that is limited as a result of my disabilities) and emotions. The previous disappointment and exertion had physically and mentally exhausted me and I hadn’t yet recovered.

After some thought I informed the housing team that in the unlikely event of someone turning down the property I would be very much interested. At the last minute I attended and was overwhelmed when I was told the property was mine. I simply couldn’t believe my luck. My life was about to change for the better and I felt so hopeful. Not to mention proud that I would be living in a beautiful conscientiously designed property that was the first of its kind in Norwich.

Since moving and settling in my life is barely recognisable and it feels like the fresh start and new beginning that I needed to make my health more manageable. I am the envy of my friends and love having people visit and be bowled over by my beautiful and clever new home.

"Thank you Mikhail Riches and team and Norwich City Council for the opportunity and improved quality of living. I feel very lucky indeed”.