A PLAN submitted on Tuesday to turn a car park in Stourport into short-term accommodation for people at risk of homelessness has already received 130 objections.

Wyre Forest District Council and Public Sector Plc have submitted an application to develop short-term residential accommodation on the temporary car park site, which is located within the conservation area in Bridge Street.

The land has been used as a car park since the old Lloyds Garage was demolished in 2014 after Wyre Forest District Council served the owners with a compulsory purchase order, saying the site was needed for redevelopment.

Ledbury Reporter:

Councillor Fran Oborski, Wyre Forest District Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, planning and capital investments, said: "The council’s Corporate Plan includes a priority on having good quality and affordable housing for all.

"Through this development, we can help deliver on this vision and we will take this new build as an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint through the inclusion of renewable technology in the project.”

If approved, the three-storey building would provide 18 ensuite rooms for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, plus office space for staff.

The property would have its own garden, smoking shelter and car parking facilities, while 14 spaces would be retained for use as a council-managed public car park.

From 9am to 5pm, the building would be managed by two part-time members of staff, who would work with occupants to help them find more permanent accommodation.

According to the planning application, the proposal is in response to the council's statutory duty to provide accommodation under the Homeless Reduction Act.

Ledbury Reporter:

The council says the number of people seeking help under the act has increased, while advice from government has reduced its ability to place vulnerable people in accommodation outside the district.

In 2018/19, a total of 847 applications were made to the council under the act - 151 of which were prevented from becoming homeless and 119 had their homelessness relieved. 181 were put up in B&Bs or hotels and 66 at 2-3 New Street in Stourport.

As demand continues to rise, the council says it will be forced to look at more costly and out-of-district placements.

The planning application has been met with criticism from local residents, with 130 already submitting formal objections.

One objector said: "The area is in the middle of a commercial area with off licences, pubs, fun fair, fast food outlets and amusement arcades which all result in noise and pollution. I'm sure people requiring temporary ensuite accommodation need to be located in a quieter residential area.

Ledbury Reporter:

"As a town, Stourport needs commercial development on this site to encourage the local economy."

Another comment from a local trader, who has worked in a Bridge Street for 35 years, said: "The site was purchased by a compulsory purchase order and a family that worked there for generations offering a valuable service were forced out.

"This was bad enough, but the local population and visitors were promised a development which would open up the basins with new shops and a new marina.

"This has failed to materialise and the former building was turned into a temporary car park.

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"The location of the proposed plan is in the middle of a very busy tourist street which is often very noisy with traffic coming and going all day and night and certainly not suitable for short-term accommodation by two pubs, a large off-licence, a large funfair, two amusement arcades and six takeaway shops."

In 2014, a planning application was approved to demolish the former Lloyd's Garage building and use the space as a temporary car park for two years.

The council had originally planned to use the site to provide a gateway to the town's canal basins, but said last year it had found it challenging to bring forward suitable plans for redevelopment which were commercially viable.