Wyre Forest District Council has published detailed information about the development of eighteen temporary accommodation units and a public car park at Bridge Street in Stourport-on-Severn, to help local people understand the background.

A planning application for the site was submitted last month and, following the current public consultation, is expected to be considered by the Planning Committee in August.

Councillor Fran Oborski, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning & Capital Investments, said: “There has been a great deal of comment on social media and already nearly 200 responses to the public consultation on the planning application. However regrettably several of the comments are misinformed or inaccurate. For example, the property was not purchased compulsorily, the council purchased the property having reached agreement as to terms with the owner, including payment for the value of the land and additional compensation, as a result of which their objection to the order was withdrawn.

Councillor Nicky Martin, Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is wrong to suggest that the development will be a bail hostel. As a result of Government legislation, the council has experienced growing demand to help people facing homelessness. This development will be a positive for many desperately in need and will be an important stepping stone to helping them find permanent housing. We understand placing vulnerable people in a bed and breakfast can have serious short and long term consequences. These units will give people a safe place to stay whilst addressing a basic need to have a roof over their head.”

Councillor Graham Ballinger, the Leader of the Council, added: “The detailed information that we are now publishing demonstrates how successive administrations of the council, over a period of more than ten years, have striven to find a viable development for the site in line with the original aspiration. It has simply not proved possible. A detailed report about the proposed development was shared with all members of the council in July 2019 and we are now able to publish that report with some minor omissions to protect commercially sensitive information. The proposal was unanimously backed by all political groups represented on the Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee before a Cabinet Sub-Committee which I chaired took the decision to go ahead. The proposed development meets a clear need for more temporary accommodation in the district and saves the council money. It also retains a small public car park that – if the Canal and River Trust wish to work with us in the future – could be used to allow access to the canal basins in line with the original aspiration for the site.”

Councillor Oborski concluded: “We hope this information will assist the public and others in understanding the journey that the council has been on and the huge amount of work that has been done over a long period leading up to the planning application being submitted.”

For more information on the development and answers to a range of questions, please visit – www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/bridgestreet.