Fresh hope for Corby homeless shelter

Volunteers Jay Walden, Nicola Pell and Diane Boyd who are all backing the new Nightlight shelter at Cannock Road NNL-180831-134014005
Volunteers Jay Walden, Nicola Pell and Diane Boyd who are all backing the new Nightlight shelter at Cannock Road NNL-180831-134014005

A shelter for Corby’s homeless community looks set to be finally given the go-ahead next week.

But volunteers at Corby Nightlight say that they are forging ahead with a plan to find temporary premises for this winter because their permanent home will not be ready in time.

Staff at the homeless charity have been searching for a new base for the town’s rough sleepers since their temporary premises at St Peter and St Andrew’s shut down at the beginning of this year.

Despite vocal local opposition, Corby Council planning officers had recommended a scheme at the former gym in Cannock Road be given the go-ahead at their meeting in June.

But at that packed meeting, the decision was delayed for an undisclosed reason eleventh hour intervention by Corby Council’s chief executive Norman Stronach.

Now, it seems that the issues have been addressed and the scheme is set for approval.

A spokesman for Corby Nightlight said: “Corby Nightlight are delighted that a decision is imminent, however, this is not the end of the road, rather the start.

“It had been hoped that the new permanent Homeless Hub would have been ready to provide shelter through this coming winter. Unfortunately, because the planning meeting had to be postponed and additional requirements made, it is now impossible to for the Hub to be ready in time.

“Corby Nightlight is in discussion with a number of parties with the hope that an alternative location can be found for this winter with the hope that the new Hub will open next year.”

Local residents had concerns that the shelter is in the wrong place - in the middle of hundreds of homes, two schools, a nursery and neighbouring a sheltered accommodation scheme and two old people’s homes.

But Nightlight say that security will be tight and that the town’s homeless population desperately needs somewhere to call its own. Many of the town’s homeless people have been sleeping in tents in the woods while there has been no shelter available.

A new report that will go before councillors on Tuesday (September 4) addresses some of the issues raised by local residents.

There are likely to be a number of speakers at the meeting, both for and against the scheme.

The report states that there will now be the addition of 2.4m high fencing and windows on Cannock Road are to have obscured glass.

A smoking area will now be enclosed in a ‘controlled’ garden area and an entrance moved to the rear of the building.

The number of beds has also changed. Two male dormitories will now have eight beds each instead of 14 and the female dormitory will have four beds instead of eight.

The staff bedroom has been omitted and a new four-bedroomed dormitory will be added to be used by men or women.

In winter the multi-use hall can be commandeered to utilise the space for nine temporary beds.

It means in total there will be space for 35 people as opposed to 39 in the previous plans.

The meeting at 7pm on Tuesday at the Corby Cube is open to members of the public.