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Gloucestershire Business News

Plan to put emergency homeless housing next to £107m Gloucester development "utter madness"

Plans to create emergency housing for homeless people next to Gloucester Railway Station and the £107million Forum development have been called "utter madness".

Critics said an application to transform part of the Station Hotel in Bruton Way into a home of multiple occupation (HMO) was a "kick in the balls" for investors and "potty".

However, Gloucester City Council said more accommodation is desperately needed for the 200 households living in temporary accommodation in Gloucester.

Councillors are due to consider the plans by London and Wiltshire Ltd at a meeting on Tuesday and they have been recommended for approval.

If given the nod, the first and second floors of the 19th Century building will be turned into a 17 bed house, with the ground floor remaining a pub.

The properties would be leased and managed by a "trusted" housing provider in Gloucester.

But Reginald Daldry, managing director at UK Demolition and Construction ltd, said it is not the right location for the housing.

He wrote on LinkedIn: "Gloucester Council and investors are pumping tens of millions into this part of the city and now planning on converting this building for the homeless."

He added: "It's 30metres away from the new development and the train station, so you will be welcomed by homeless begging for money and drunks.

"I know they have to go somewhere but not next to the train station. What a kick in the balls to the investors."

He claimed there is a building 400m away that has planning permission for a 27 HMO but is sat empty.

One comment simply said the plan was "potty" while retired businessman Phil Courtenay, former group operation and technical director of Courtenay Technical Services UK Limited, wrote: "Suitable place in Worcester Street that would be ideal to house the homeless."

However, careers consultant Ros Lucas wrote: "Will they still need to beg if not homeless? "Perhaps with an address they can be supported to find a job."

The council received one letter of objection to the application.

Housing bosses said more temporary accommodation is needed to help those struggling in our city. A lack of HMOs mean they often have to be housed in expensive hotels.

The cost of living crisis has put a huge strain on the department with a forecast £1.1m overspend in the planning and housing portfolio. 

Meanwhile it is forging ahead with a £200m regeneration of the city centre with partners Reef Group, and the University of Gloucestershire.

Due for completion in 2024, The Forum is a key part of makeover  and includes a boutique 131-bedroom hotel, gym, retail space and upscale residential homes.

Phase One was completed earlier this year, including residential and retail elements. The Whitefriars apartment complex consists of 19 contemporary, architect-designed homes, 90% of which have already been snapped up.

When asked for a response to Mr Daldry's comments, a Gloucester City Council spokesperson said: "This is a live planning application that will be considered by the council's planning committee next week.

"This is not a Gloucester City Council proposal and as the case is live, we will not comment on this specific case further."

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