A FORMER bed and breakfast will be converted into a hostel that will provide temporary accommodation for homeless families and people, following a vote by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee.
At its meeting last week, the committee heard the plans to turn the former Nights Inn site in Shute End into a 10-bed emergency hostel, boosting the council’s accommodation for people in dire need. It is expected that over the course of a year, 15 households will be accommodated by the centre.
The site is considered to be a good location as it’s sustainable, within the town centre, with good access to schools, public transport and services such as the doctor and council offices.
A number of concerns have been raised by residents and noted by planning officers, including the lack of gardens and on-site parking.
Planning officers told the committee that most of the 13 complaints submitted by residents relate to the site’s previous owners; the site is owned by Wokingham Borough Council Housing Services and will be managed by housing services.
A condition to the plan is ensure a site management is submitted and approved, including ensuring there is a staff presence between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
The planning department noted concerned from residents over fire and safety issues, the noise, lack of outdoor space, the cramped accommodation and highway safety.
Cllr Bill Soane queried the width of the footpath on Shute End and whether it would be safe for families with young children.
“How do we stop them running straight into the road?” he asked.
Planning officers said that it was no different from many other footpaths and installing a fence would narrow the path even more.
The application was approved unanimously by the committee, which met on Wednesday, August 8.