Night shelter plans for Wellingborough to be discussed

The night shelter plans will be discussed next week
The night shelter plans will be discussed next week

Plans which could see a night shelter open in Wellingborough will be discussed next week.

Valerie Anslow has applied for change of use of part of the building of the Sports and Social Club British Leyland UK, which is just off The Embankment in the grounds of Wellingborough School.

The application is to change from its current use of storage to a night shelter.

The Northants Telegraph previously reported how Wellingborough Homeless Forum was launched to bring groups together to tackle the problem of homelessness and those at risk of it in the town.

They organised a roving night shelter earlier this year and were looking to get their own premises set up in time for the winter.

Valerie is part of this group, as well as one of the Swanspool ward councillors on Wellingborough Council.

A report prepared for Wellingborough Council’s planning committee, which will consider the plans, says: “Currently the building is used for storage purposes by Wellingborough School who own the property.

“Previously the building was used as a dance hall with a bar area.

“The proposed part change of use would involve the erection of internal walls in order to partition the internal space.

“There are no external alterations proposed as part of this proposal.

“The part change of use would include an entrance area, a sleeping area, a kitchen and provision of toilets and washroom facilities.”

Six letters of objection have been received about the plans, with concerns including:

- the building is not fit for purpose

- while the need of the homeless is accepted, this plan is ill conceived

- The Daylight Centre in High Street should be considered for development of overnight accommodation facilities where the impact of failing to staff to the required levels may impact less on other community aspects

- the impact this homeless shelter could have on the Embankment Golf Club could be catastrophic

And 64 letters of support have also been received, with comments including:

- a much needed service provided by volunteers in a building that is currently underutilised

- Wellingborough is one of the few towns in the area which does not have a night shelter to support rough sleepers

- The Daylight Centre is not a suitable alternative as every inch of space there is already fully utilised

It is proposed that the shelter will be open between 8pm and 7.30am, with the premises closed during the day.

Council officers have recommended that the plans are approved subject to conditions.

The application will be discussed by the planning committee in the council chamber at Swanspool House, Wellingborough, from 7pm on Wednesday (November 7).