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Plans to convert old warden house in Sudbury into temporary accommodation for homeless people approved

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Plans to transform an old warden house in Sudbury into a temporary homeless bedsit have been approved, as part of plans to reduce the reliance on expensive bed and breakfast rooms.

Babergh District Council lodged the plans to convert The Firs in Waldingfield Road into eight bedsits, with communal kitchen, bathrooms and laundry facilities.

According to the homelessness team, the authority is still relying on temporary housing in Ipswich B&Bs and Mid Suffolk bedsits.

Homelessness is on the rise in the area. (22712767)
Homelessness is on the rise in the area. (22712767)

A spokeswoman said: “We desperately require more temporary accommodation in the district.

“At the moment, unfortunately, we often have to place homeless individuals in bed and breakfast accommodation in Ipswich, which naturally is outside the district.

“We want to keep people in our boundaries, because we want to keep them close to their employment, family and support, and those with children close to their schooling.”

The spokeswoman said the authority spent £50,789 on B&Bs in 2018/19, after income received from housing benefit towards the cost.

As of last Wednesday, the council had 12 individuals in B&Bs.

While the rooms are most likely to be used by single individuals, it could also be used by families if the choice was between there or a B&B.

The plans, approved by Babergh’s planning committee, ups the district’s number of temporary accommodation bedsit units to 44.

Rooms are usually only filled by one person or a family for a period of up to nine months, and rarely extend beyond that, the council said.

The new facility is expected to open in the summer of 2020.

Gavin Fisk, assistant director of housing at Babergh, said: “Preventing homelessness is a priority for Babergh District Council – everyone needs somewhere to live and a place they can call home.

“We are committed to ending rough sleeping in our district, as well as reducing the use of bed and breakfast provision, and this will increase our ability to provide accommodation for those in urgent need with the creation of an additional eight units.

“Just as important is the work we are doing with people as early as possible to prevent homelessness occurring, and supporting them to secure accommodation in the private sector.”