Welwyn Garden City homeless shelter set for £12million revamp

PUBLISHED: 13:09 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:09 04 October 2017

Howlands House in WGC

Howlands House in WGC

Archant

A temporary accommodation unit in Welwyn Garden City is set to double in size after a £12million redevelopment scheme was approved by the borough council.

The Howlands House shelter for homeless people will see its capacity doubled from 63 rooms to 127, with the revamp including plans for a new lift, a bathroom for each room and one purpose-built flat for people with disabilities.

A council spokeswoman explained that the current accommodation has become dated after 40 years’ use, and the upgrade will turn it into a modern facility.

As part of the plans the original buildings would be demolished, although the redevelopment is likely to be carried out in a phased approach to retain some provision for temporary accommodation during the works.

Councillor Mandy Perkins, executive member for planning, housing and community, said: “A secure and comfortable environment is never more important than when families are faced with homelessness.

“Doubling our capacity at Howlands House will give us more flexibility to support a wider range of people who come to us for help when they’ve lost their home.”

A spokeswoman said it is expected to cost around £12million, with £2.65m funded through ‘Right to Buy’ receipts, and confirmed a planning application will be submitted next year, with work expected to start in 2019.

“We will be asking residents what they think about the plans next year,” added Cllr Perkins, “including those who have used our temporary accommodation facilities in the borough.

“It’s important we hear their views on what could have improved their experience so these suggestions can be reflected in the designs we put forward.”

A council spokeswoman urged anyone threatened with homelessness to seek early advice by calling 01707 357613 or emailing housing@welhat.gov.uk

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