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Row flares over councillor’s video on beds for rough sleepers

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A ROW has flared after a councillor at Warrington produced a video criticising the borough council’s development management committee for deferring a decision on plans for eight emergency beds for rough sleepers.
Cllr Tom Jennings made the video outside James Lee House – Warrington’s Salvation Army hostel – and posted it on Facebook
In it, he criticises councillors “who had homes to go to after the meeting” for delaying a decision and not approving plans for providing the extra bedrooms in James Lee House.
He claimed the proposals were for new beds, showers, toilets, hot meals, drinks and snacks, laundry facilities and crucially, professional support to help vulnerable people back up on their feet.
Cllr Jennings said anyone going through the town could see the scale of the issue – homelessness and rough sleeping – and said he had raised it time and time again.
“Something has got to be done,” he said – and called on people to back his campaign by signing an online petition.
“Together, we can urge these councillors to approve these new beds and help tackle homelessness in our tow.”
As already reported by Warrington-Worldwide, the planners deferred a decision for more information after being told the eight beds were not to be additional provision but were to replace the 10-bed Room at the Inn facility which has been providing accommodation for the homeless for seven years.
Now Room at the Inn’s management committee has issued a statement in response to Cllr Jennings’ video.
Spokesperson Karen Blenkinsop said: “The councillors on the planning committee deferred making a decision on the proposed shelter at James Lee House as it was unclear if it was an addition to homelessness provision in Warrington or if was intended as a replacement service to Room at the Inn,
“ We had suspicions that our £36,000 Supporting People contract with the council would be stopped if the James Lee House shelter went ahead, effectively pulling the plug on our services and leaving the town with only the proposed eight bedded facility, with no showers, no kitchen, no staff, (only via CCTV) , no day time provision and one toilet between eight mixed-sex service users.
“This will make it very difficult for us to provide our service which operates  for 20 hours a day 365 days a year and provides good value for money, offering services that James Lee House and Housing Plus don’t.
“We fear for the safety of the homeless community in Warrington without our service.”
“The council have said that we have only four rough sleepers in Warrington, following a recent count by the police. However, we take issue with this, as we know of at least eight people sleeping rough in Warrington. The situation will become even worse if are not able to provide a service. The planning committee were doing their jobs correctly in wishing to seek clarification and they also had issue with the basic nature of the proposed facility, especially if it was to replace Room at the Inn.”
Cllr Amanda King said it was a shame the video had been produced and said it should be taken down immediately.
The planning committee took its role very seriously and asked that the extra room should be in addition to and not as a replacement for Room at the Inn.
She said: “Room at the Inn provides a great service -one I have witnessed first hand. Personally I would like to see Room at the Inn continue to be supported and grow from strength to strength, and also see other services expand in the town. “

The video can be seen below:

Back The Beds

Add your voice 👉 www.backthebeds.comJoin my campaign to back the building of 8 new emergency beds in #Warrington to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in our town.

Posted by Cllr Tom Jennings on Monday, December 4, 2017

 

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2 Comments

  1. Yes of course beds and services for the homeless are needed and yes the vast majority of us who also walk through the streets of Warrington and nearby villages see people sleeping on the streets daily presumably with nowhere to go.

    BUT Clr Jennings in your role as a coucillor surely you are aware of the work, help and services the YMCA used to offer (which the council CLOSED) and also the work and services New Room At The Inn provides too.

    For once I actually think the Council made the RIGHT decision in deferring this application if the application wasn’t clear and all parties involved were not covered as it might mean that another service (Room at The Inn) may have to close as a result of their vote decision.

    Can you not see that?…I just hope your campaign doesn’t force closure for Room At The Inn’s much needed services especially at this time of the year !! Your words and actions have certainly got your name splashed across social media though which I know councillors often like…although not in a good way from a lot of what I’ve read today.

    Maybe you should take a step back and think about the bigger picture rather before going any further as I’m sure you had good intentions but you clearly didn’t have all the facts either and hadn’t really thought it all through.

    Perhaps you could back both services to enure they BOTH get the expansion and funding that is needed to help those in need.

  2. What a vile excuse for a human being, using the plight of the homeless in his video to try to force through an effective severing of an established, successful, caring and cost effective service run at Room at the Inn. No kitchen, no staff, no community areas, no human contact, one toilet to share and the cells don’t even have any windows whatsoever. I can’t help but wonder what the puppet masters behind Jennings video have promised him in return for his misleading and harmful propaganda. I think even the Tories would balk at such blatant deception disguised as concern for very vulnerable people. Clearly, having invested many many millions developing Bridge Street and now with the demolition of the Cabinet works allowing the connection between it and the Cultural Quarter, these unfortunate homeless folk and their only shelter have become an embarrassing truth for the Towns leaders and they want them shifted. Charles Dickens couldn’t have come up with a fouler plot and he wrote some belters. Hang your head in shame Jennings, although I know you are simply the monkey doing your masters bidding.

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