Shropshire Star

Homeless housing plan for former town-centre student accommodation

Former town-centre student accommodation is to be used to house homeless people, under Shropshire Council plans.

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

The authority's Conservative administration has revealed proposals for part of Shrewsbury's Tannery building to house up to 61 homeless people – for a 'temporary' period of three years.

The proposals, which are for the Tannery East in Mardol, are the latest proposal from Shropshire Council as it looks to increase the amount of accommodation for people who are homeless.

The council has already approved a scheme to convert Coton House in Shrewsbury into supported housing for homeless people, with 25 places available.

The authority says the approach will provide a better standard of accommodation for single homeless people, and will also cut down on the costly use of hotel and B&B placements.

It said that B&B placements cost the council around £2.5 million per year.

It said there are currently around 250 households in temporary accommodation – although the figures fluctuate on a weekly basis. Of those, around 100 single people are in hotel or B&B accommodation.

Tannery East was built as dedicated accommodation for students attending University Centre Shrewsbury, and was completed in 2018.

With uncertainly over the future of the university project the council has decided to instead use the building for single homeless people – a group it says it is most difficult to find places for.

The building includes 61 single en-suite rooms, with shared kitchens and communal spaces.

The council said the site has been under-occupied in terms of students, with tenants from other health service 'partners' using some of the rooms instead.

It said that the existing ground-floor tenants would remain in place, and that there would be permanent security on-site 24/7.

It added that the accommodation would not be used for rough sleepers

If approved the building will come into use from October.

The accommodation will be in the Tannery East building.

Councillor Dean Carroll, Cabinet Member for Housing and Assets said: “As with many local authorities across the country, Shropshire is seeing an increase in people who are presenting themselves as homeless.

“We currently do not have sufficient supported accommodation to house those who are statutorily homeless and qualify for this type of accommodation. Therefore, we must look at how we can extend our temporary accommodation offer.

“The proposed scheme will offer supported living to single homeless with round-the-clock on-site management and support from experienced staff and is intended to be short term, for a period of three years, while the council develops more permanent solutions for providing temporary accommodation in Shropshire.

“This proposal is a great opportunity for the Council and for those we have a duty to help. It will allow us to offer high-quality temporary accommodation and support for 61 single homeless people, while also saving money for the Council and making the best use of a Council asset.

“It will also cut down on the use of B&B/hotel accommodation, which is often not ideal, costly and far from local support services.

“We appreciate that residents and businesses may have questions about how the proposal will work in practice. We want to assure you we will work with the local community and partners to address any queries they may have about the Tannery East proposals. We have set up a series of FAQs and a dedicated email address where residents and business can ask further questions.”

He added: "We have a statutory duty to support those who are or at risk of being homeless. We understand that homelessness is not just about having no place to stay, but also linked to other complex needs and situations. Homelessness can harm a person's physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“We want to help people secure better futures, and providing safe and well-managed accommodation is a key part of our offer. We also know that this accommodation, along with personalised support and a good management plan, can form a vital and important new provision for our community.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone, and we work with people from different backgrounds and situations, such as former military personnel, tenants evicted from their homes, or domestic abuse survivors. We offer support to most people we engage with, and we keep working with various partners to prevent homelessness and help homeless people find accommodation and work.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.