Former school could become supported living and training facility for homeless young people

A former school could become a supported living and training facility for homeless young people, if councillors grant change-of-use permission.

New College Telford, King Street, Wellington (Picture: Google)
New College Telford, King Street, Wellington (Picture: Google)

The 110-year-old New College, on King Street, Wellington, used to house a girls’ high school and was grade II listed in February 2020.

Jessop Brothers Ltd has applied to convert it into 28 one-bedroom homes, along with shared facilities for residents and staff, on behalf of the YMCA.

Telford and Wrekin’s Planning Committee will discuss the proposal when it meets on Wednesday, November 24. Council officers recommend they vote in favour.

In their report, officers say: “This application relates to the change of use of the existing building to form 28 one-bedroom self-contained apartments for young homeless people.”

A design statement, submitted on Jessop’s behalf, notes that “YMCA Wellington currently operate a total of three housing schemes located on the edge of Wellington town centre aimed at providing secure supported accommodation for up to 40 young homeless people aged 16 to 25”.

It adds that the New College proposal would allow the organisation “to expand its range of much needed services to meet an identified need for young people with low – often transitory – support needs” such as those who cannot raise a deposit or who lack tenancy references.

“Whilst the accommodation would be self-contained there would also be a degree of support provided on-site,” the planners’ report says.

“Residents would not typically be car owners and may be seeking or entering their first job or completing a college course.

“The development would also include communal facilities including a training room, laundry, staff management office, shared waste and recycling facilities, secure cycle storage, charging points and communal garden areas.”

Wellington Town Council was consulted and registered no objection. The report says members there considered the proposal a “good compromise” and were pleased the building’s neoclassical facade would be retained.

Planning officers note that newer, unlisted buildings on the New College site have been demolished “and the wider site is subject of a separate planning application”.

This outline application includes plans for 64 retirement flats, 10 retirement bungalows, 26 other houses and a community sports facility. No decision has been made on this yet.

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