We are delighted to announce that on Tuesday 11th May 2020, Wirral Council approved our planning application to create ‘move on’ accommodation for some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
We will embark on our development plan which will see the creation of 15 self-contained flats for single people and enable them to move on from temporary accommodation; a key driver in Wirral’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025 and will drastically improve our housing options for clients looking into both move on accommodation and rented accommodation.
The site at 65 Prenton Road West was previously used as a care home until its closure in 2018. Once its availability became clear we identified this site as a fantastic opportunity to provide new housing options and help to ease the demand for these much-needed new developments.
Strategic Support and Need
A Wirral Homelessness Review was carried out during the summer of 2019 and identified a significant shortage of move on accommodation in the borough. This lack of appropriate move on accommodation has resulted in ‘bed blocking’ at hostels and an increased use of bed & breakfasts.
The review revealed that there are a high number of people waiting to access supported housing, but that this demand was not being met due to the limited supply of move on accommodation.
The results of the review highlighted a need for medium term housing to enable people to progress from hostel type accommodation and help facilitate their journey towards fully independent living. It’s clear that creating more move on housing developments is an essential part of the accommodation pathway for our clients in Wirral.
How Prenton Road West will operate
This scheme will provide mid-term accommodation for people looking towards independent living solutions. and will enable people who need additional support to maintain their tenancy, develop their skills and confidence before being able to move on to fully independent living.
Whilst at the scheme, residents will be supported by our staff who will help them adjust to a new level of independence and monitor their progress. We will ensure we are able to manage their individual needs and offer support when necessary.
There will be 15 self-contained units each with their own kitchenette and bathroom, and all residents will have full use of the communal laundry room. In effect, there will be very little material change from its previous use as a care home where residents were also living independently with support.
All our Prenton Road West residents will live in their rooms independently. Clients are entitled to visitors, but access is during limited hours and they are not allowed to have people stay over.
Residents are risk assessed and referred to the service by their current support worker, therefore only people suitable to live semi-independently will be placed at the new scheme . As with all our projects, we risk assess all clients and take into consideration any offending history they may have. This is to ensure they are suitable to stay in that location and are able to get the full benefit of the services we provide.
As a result of safety procedures and risk assessments, individuals living a chaotic lifestyle would not be housed at this project, nor would be anyone who was unsuitable to be living next to the adjacent nursery. This is important to note as we take our responsibility to our clients, and the wider public, very seriously.
Naturally, with most new developments, there were some concerns about parking and waste management. However, we were able to show to the council that we had plans in pace to prevent any impact on the local community regarding these two issues. Indeed, waste will be a standard shared bin for recycling and general waste; there will not be individual bins for each resident and residents will be on low incomes, typically Universal Credit, and it will be highly unlikely they will have a car.
Why Prenton Road West is so needed
We want our residents to enjoy being a part of (and help them contribute to) a community in which they feel welcomed and safe. These people have been in the most precarious and vulnerable situations imaginable and we are committed to supporting them as they work to improve their lives.
This new development is so vital for the Wirral area and represents a commitment to helping people re-integrate fully in our society. These are people who have fallen on tough times and need the compassion and understanding of our society to help them grow strong enough to live independently.
Prenton Road West will not only provide much-needed move on accommodation but will also help to ease the demand on other supporting housing provision. Creating this pathway towards independent living can only be a positive for the area of Wirral and we hope it will go some way to alleviating the problems many people are facing right now.
This is something that was recognised by Wirral council and we are happy that our plans have now been approved.
As the council officer’s report said: “There is a significant shortage in the Wirral of midterm move on accommodation for recently homeless people to use to prepare for long-term permanent accommodation.
“This results in the short-term accommodation becoming full of people who are ready to move on but are unable to find a place to move on to.”
Residents will not typically stay longer than 12 months. The aim is to move people into independent housing as soon as they have demonstrated they are ready to live independently. While there is no minimum stay specified, most clients tend to stay for at least 6 months.
We would just like to thank everyone associated with our planning application and to extend our gratitude to Wirral Council for understanding the issues at play and their professionalism and swift action in approving our application.
The hard work is yet to be done, but we are incredibly excited and we are now looking forward to starting work on this development and providing the type of accommodation this borough needs.