Decision made on plans for Sudbury homeless accommodation

Babergh District Coucnil wants to convert The Firs into eight bedsis

Babergh District Coucnil wants to convert The Firs into eight bedsis - Credit: Archant

Plans to revamp an old warden house in Sudbury to become a temporary homeless bedsit have been approved as part of plans to reduce the reliance on expensive bed and breakfast rooms.

Babergh District Council wants to convert The Firs into eight bedsits

Babergh District Council wants to convert The Firs into eight bedsits - Credit: Archant

Babergh District Council lodged the plans to convert The Firs in Waldingfield Road into eight bedsits, with communal kitchen, bathrooms and laundry facilities.

According to officers from the homelessness team, the authority is still relying on temporary housing in Ipswich B&Bs and Mid Suffolk bedsits.

A spokeswoman said: "We desperately require more temporary accommodation in the district.

"At the moment unfortunately we often have to place homeless individuals in bed and breakfast accommodation in Ipswich, which naturally is outside the district.

"We want to keep people in our ward boundaries because we want to keep them close to their employment, family and support and for those with children close to their schooling."

The spokeswoman said the authority spent £50,789 on B&Bs in 2018/19, after income received from housing benefit towards the cost. As of Wednesday, the council had 12 individuals in B&Bs.

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While the rooms are most likely to be used by single homeless individuals, it could also be used by families if the choice was between there or a B&B.

The plans, approved unanimously by Babergh's planning committee on Wednesday, ups the district's number of temporary accommodation bedsit units from 36 to 44.

Rooms are usually only filled by one person or family for a period of up to nine months, and rarely extend beyond that, the council said.

The new facility is expected to open sometime in the summer of 2020.

Gavin Fisk, assistant director of housing at Babergh, said: "Preventing homelessness is a priority for Babergh District Council - everyone needs somewhere to live and a place they can call home.

"We are committed to ending rough sleeping in our district, as well as reducing the use of bed and breakfast provision, and this will increase our ability to provide accommodation for those in urgent need with the creation of an additional eight units.

"However, this is only one part of our homelessness reduction strategy. Just as important is the work that we are doing with people as early as possible to prevent homelessness occurring in the first place and supporting them to secure accommodation in the private sector."

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