The leader of the opposition has thrown her support behind plans to refurbish a city centre property as temporary housing for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees. 

Winchester City Council triggered £610,000 to regenerate 59 Colebrook Street, which has been empty for two years.

After the plan was given the backing of the cabinet, the full council unanimously supported it on Thursday, November 30.

To fund the refurb, Hampshire County Council provided £250,000, the Local Authority Housing Fund £206,000 and £154,000 came from borrowing.

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Leader of the city council's Conservative group, Cllr Caroline Horrill, said: "It's admirable that we want to help our Ukrainian and Afghan guests. Many of them want to stay. 

"This is a great chance for us and I hope we can support this really positive move."

Cllr Chris Westwood, cabinet member for housing, said: “This will provide accommodation for people on various government resettlement schemes. The property meets the need for temporary accommodation. 

“It's in a good, central location with good access to training and is near all transport links. It is expected that the council's use for this property would be predominantly Ukrainians. 

“Winchester currently has 62 single Ukrainian households with hosts. 

“The council's resettlement team would continue to support them while they lived there. This will be a real value in the long term.”

The council unanimously agreed to support the scheme.