Controversial Corby homeless shelter recommended for approval

Volunteers Jay Walden, Nicola Pell and Diane Boyd who are all backing the bid for a homeless shelter in Cannock Road. NNL-180531-135411005
Volunteers Jay Walden, Nicola Pell and Diane Boyd who are all backing the bid for a homeless shelter in Cannock Road. NNL-180531-135411005

Volunteers who want to run a homeless shelter in Cannock Road, Corby, have been handed a lifeline in their high-profile battle to open the facility.

The 38-bed Nightlight shelter in the Lloyds area of the town has been recommended for approval by Corby Council planning officers who have looked closely at the submission during the past few weeks.

The scheme is due to go before elected councillors on Wednesday night who will look at the report compiled by their officers, listen to representations from both sides then vote on whether it should be given the go-ahead.

Objectors say that the former Den’s Gym building in Cannock Road is the wrong location and that it will have an adverse effect on people living nearby.

A report to councillors by officer Christopher Mohtram says that “the harms that have been noted through objectors and petitioners do not outweigh the benefits the scheme would bring to the surrounding area.”

It continues: “It is recognised nationally that homelessness is on the rise with 77,240 households in temporary accommodation in England in March 2017, an increase of 60 per cent since March 2011, this is also reflected within Corby with referrals increased to the Nightlight Service from 34 in 2015/16 to 84 in 2017/18.

“A new homeless shelter would seek to aid the Local Authority in providing a safe, secure targeted community facility. The concerns in regards to amenity for local residents have been addressed through added security measures and through a detailed operational management plan and regular monitoring by the Local Authority secured by condition.”

The report details the steps that the volunteers have taken to find alternative accommodation - ruling out the former Connaughty Centre, Salvation Army building, the empty TJ Hughes unit and the former co-op building.

It also says that fencing will be placed at the back of the building to mitigate the impact on nearby residents and that CCTV will be used to help people feel safe.

The report goes on to say: “The submitted business plan states that the shelter will be open 24 hours a day, from 10pm until 8am the front doors will be locked with people only obtaining access if they are returning directly from work or have a medical emergency.

“...Regular patrols will take place during the night around the perimeter of the site for added security ensuring that no one is loitering and can be moved on. Users are only able to use the shelter via referral from Corby Borough Council as it has previously. This would ensure numbers of users can be monitored and controlled avoiding overspill outside and capacity is not exceed, this will also help to ensure users are from within Corby and not further afield addressing concerns raised by objectors.”

Nightlight founder Nicola Pell said: “We have listened to the concerns of local people and we have responded, where we can, to them.

“I look forward to the meeting and hearing the council’s decision.”

Corby Council’s planning committee consists of Cllr Julie Riley (chair), Cllr Anthony Dady (Vice chair), Cllr Paul Beattie, Cllr Ann Brown, Cllr Colleen Cassidy, Cllr Lawrence Ferguson, Cllr Willie Latta, Cllr Jean Addison, Cllr Matt Reay, Cllr Bob Rutt and Cllr David Sims, who will vote on the plans on Wednesday at 7pm at the Cube. The meeting is open to members of the public but is expected to be well-attended so early arrival is advised.

You can read the full report to councillors here

Read more: Future of homeless shelter hangs in the balance

Read more: Corby shelter is ‘not in right place

Read more: Elderly scare by shelter proposal

Read more: Tent village is cleaned by volunteers