No place like home

Clowance Street

Clarence Street reopens for Devonport residents

When families moved back into the newly-refurbished Clowance Street flats, they were certainly pleased to have somewhere to call home again. A number of years had passed since the Clowance Street fire, and we are pleased to say that the hard work of residents, staff and partners paid off now that families have moved back in.

A number of families were affected by the fire in 2015 which left residents homeless, and the support of the Devonport community at the time was overwhelming. The Devonport Guildhall remained open for residents to receive information and support regarding their housing options and emergency welfare funding, collect clothing and food as well as receiving support. The Guildhall overflowed with bags of clothing, bedding and toys, and we were unable to take any more donations as we had no more room to store them.

We had to work closely with our insurers to assess the damage and the rebuilding required to the site, and now the finished homes are providing valuable family accommodation to those who were able to move back in. PCH staff held a welcome event at Devonport Live community café for families to come along and talk to staff about how they were settling in, and to let us know what they think about their refurbished homes.

“I was involved in the emergency response we offered to help residents following the fire, so it’s especially pleasing to see people living there again”

Paula Williams, housing officer

Shelley Prout, one of the people who moved back in, said: “When the fire happened, one of my children was due to start school that September but we had to move to Whitleigh, as that was the most suitable home for our family at the time. I moved back into Clowance Street just before Christmas and my children have settled straight into their new school, and we spent our first Christmas back at home where we are surrounded by our friends and family.”

One of Shelley’s neighbours, Claire Franklin, had lived in her home in Clowance Street for only a matter of days before she was forced to move due to the fire. She recalled: “I think it was only my second night in Clowance Street when the fire broke out. I was forced to move to my mum’s for a week and then on to Honicknowle into a decent-sized home for my family. I moved back in at the same time as Shelley, just in time for Christmas and I’m back with all my friends and the community that I know and love.”

Paula Williams, housing officer, said: “It’s a pleasure to see the block refurbished to such a high standard. I was involved in the emergency response we offered to help residents following the fire, so it’s especially pleasing to see people living there again.”

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