Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Plan to turn former social club into flats for homeless
1:20pm Friday 18th January 2013 in News
A £2 million development for single homeless people has been proposed for the Heenan’s Social Club site in Sansome Place, Worcester.
Worcester Community Housing has announced plans for 16 studio apartments which will be submitted to city planners in February 2013.
If approved, work on the site would begin in October 2013 with a completion date earmarked for March 2015.
Architects BM3, who produced the designs, said the original front of Heenan’s Social Club, currently covered in rendering, is a conservation area and will be used as offices for homeless service provider St Paul’s who will eventually manage it.
Plans for the three-storey building also include meeting rooms and an area for life skills training.
It is hoped the project will act as a stepping stone between a hostel and independent living.
The development would be mainly funded from a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency as well as a grant from Worcester City Council and WCH’s loan facility which will be recouped through rent payments.
Chris Ashcroft, chief executive of St Paul’s Hostel in the Shrub Hill area of Worcester, said the current housing situation saw people needing low-level support put into hostels catering for those who need a high level.
He said: “This is exactly what is needed. The last time we had a vacancy at St Paul’s was 15 to 20 years ago and that will only get worse with the economic climate. We get a lot more people who have lost jobs or are homeless for economic reasons than drink and drugs. It is easier for them to turn their lives around with a bit of help.”
St Paul’s user Stewart Akins, aged 49, said the project would give people the confidence to live more independently. “You do get entrenched in that lifestyle and having people do everything for you and it is difficult to step out of it. This will provide that little step to go out into the real world.”
Mario Antoni, BM3 Architects director, said the plans for the redevelopment of the 60-year-old building, which closed in 2009, were attractive and in keeping with the surrounding area.