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Salvation Army responds to planning row over beds for homeless

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THE Salvation Army has responded to the war of words that broke out after Warrington planning chiefs deferred a decision on a scheme to provide eight emergency beds for rough sleepers.
Matthew Davenport, manager of James Lee House -= the Salvation Army hostel in Brick Street – said it was vital to make better provision for people experiencing homelessness in Warrington.
The row flared after a borough councillor made an online video criticising the borough council’s development management committee for deferring a decision on an application for eight new bedrooms at the hostel.
Cllr Tom Jennings made the video outside James Lee House and criticised councillors – “who had homes to go to” – for delaying the decision.
In fact, the committee delayed the decision because a number of objectors had claimed the new bedrooms were to replace 10 others at the charity Room at the Inn, which would be lost.
Cllr Jennings said the new bedrooms would have showers, toilets, hot meals, drinks and snacks, laundry facilities and professional support to help vulnerable people back up on their feet.
But Room at the Inn’s management committee issued a statement claiming the new beds would be very basic, with no showers, no kitchen, no staff, (only via CCTV), no day time provision and one toilet between eight mixed-sex service users.
They said if Room at the Inn was forced to close they would fear for the safety of the homeless community in Warrington.
Mr Davenport said the Salvation Army, as part of the town’s homelessness strategy, saw it as vital to make better provision for people experiencing homelessness in Warrington.
He said: “Anyone using the proposed new eight bedrooms will have access to James Lee House with laundry, showers, food and staff on hand while also giving the privacy and dignity that is everyone’s right.
“The Salvation Army at James Lee House offers a wide range of professional services, working in partnership with many agencies across the town to ensure that the best help reaches the most vulnerable. Throughout the year we have organised a range of activities for our residents including a fishing club, outdoor sports, ice skating, as well as providing high quality cooked meals every day of the year.”
The issue will be discussed again at the next meeting of the development management committee.

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7 Comments

  1. This shows the moral compass of WBC when it comes to the housing crisis, quite happy to build high value houses on the green belt that rich people will but and generate big council tax revenues and developer contributions for them to invest in dodgy banks and property deals, while they ignore brownfield sites that could be developed for the homeless with more affordable housing. Their hypocrisy is nauseating !

  2. How on Earth does removing the excellent provision of ten beds and full care from Room at the Inn and replacing it with eight unstaffed, bare rooms equate to increasing provision for the homeless? I know James Lee House and all the satff there do a superb job, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of alternative provision.

  3. These extra 8 bedrooms should be in addition to the 10 at Room at the Inn not in exchange for them! and many more need to be provided.
    WBC have been giving loans to housing associations to build social rented housing as far away as Yorkshire! They should have been built here, where they are certainly needed.
    As has already been said, – this council is concentrating on building on greenbelt – this helps profit hungry developers whilst the town’s homeless list increases. It’s an absolute disgrace!
    Time for change – we need councillors who will put the people of Warrington first!

  4. The whole thing is a charade to mask the councils true intention of removing homeless people from the towns Cultural Quarter, which has just been given a massive cash boost, to the outer regions of town centre. Its a carbon copy of what happened to the YMCA with the council maintaining that alternative provision was provided whilst knowing full well it had not. Nothing will stand in the way of Warrington becoming a city and councillors having roads named after them. The EGO has landed.

  5. “Throughout the year we have organised a range of activities for our residents including a fishing club, outdoor sports, ice skating, as well as providing high quality cooked meals every day of the year.”

    Not for the people in these “direct beds”. Roll up at 9 pm, get thrown out at 7 am.

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