Corby night shelter given planning permission - but no operator appointed to run it yet

The council's development control approved the change of use planning permission for the Dorking Walk properties last night.
The council's development control approved the change of use planning permission for the Dorking Walk properties last night.

Plans for a new council-owned night shelter for rough sleepers in Corby have taken a step forward – although the council does not have an organisation lined up to run it.

Planning permission was granted last night (Oct 1) for the change of use to the adjoining properties in Dorking Walk.

The shelter is a key part of the council’s plan to eradicate rough sleeping in the town – after a large increase of people sleeping on the town’s streets in recent years.

But as yet the authority has not found a suitable organisation to run the shelter. Homeless charity Corby Nightlight, which ran a shelter in the disused Corby police station last winter, has ruled itself out and said it thinks the Dorking Walk location is unsafe for users and staff.

At the meeting last night a planning officer said the authority ‘had not been able to negotiate management of the site’ and that an operator had not been appointed.

The council has budgeted £130,000 for the amendments which will involve a five dormitories at 82 Dorking Walk which can sleep 16 people plus a two-bedroom Home of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) at 98 Dorking Walk and a three-bedroom HMO at 100 Dorking Walk. Each unit will have a separate access and a staff office will be created at 100 Dorking Walk.

Number 82 would be the first stop for rough sleepers with the HMO accommodation offering a ‘second step’.

Currently the properties are boarded up.

In June the council said its target was to open the night shelter at the end of this month (October).

At the meeting Labour Cllr Willie Latta questioned whether the council would be cleaning up the area as it was untidy and the planning officer said the authority would be removing the litter.

An objection from police to the shelter on security grounds has been removed after a meeting with the council. There have been no objections from neighbours.

The Dorking Walk properties were converted in 2000 from residential properties and used by a mental health charity safe haven as a refuge.