Residents of Stourport are shocked and dismayed to discover that plans to develop the temporary car park site in Bridge Street, Stourport-on-Severn into short-term residential accommodation have been submitted by the Progressive Alliance-led Wyre Forest District Council (WFDC) and Public Sector Plc.
The planning application proposes accommodation that will consist of 18 units to support the homeless and it is expected to be considered by the Planning Committee in August.
Despite 1000s of residents signing an online petition and many objections already being raised, according to a press release issued by WFDC, Health Concern Councillor Nicky Martin (Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing and a Stourport Town Councillor) supports the proposed development and is more concerned with the “growing demand to help people facing homelessness” than the concerns and needs of her local residents, businesses and the very people that elected her.
At a recent meeting of Stourport Town Council, members of the public were present to urge their Councillors to stand against the development. Residents expressed a range of concerns including:
- the proposed location is situated in the town’s tourist hub (close to family-oriented amenities);
- the area already has its fair share of temporary accommodation for the homeless with two facilities, one in New Street and the other in Raven Street;
- there is a clear lack of support services for any potential end users of the accommodation; and
- it is not acceptable for Stourport to shoulder the majority of homelessness provision for WFDC.
Stourport Town Council voted against the development and while the consultation deadline for the planning application has ended, your Conservative Councillors will continue to listen to their local residents and push for this planning application to be refused.
Town and District Councillor Berenice Dawes said, “While we all understand there is a need to deliver suitable accommodation to temporarily support homeless and vulnerable people on their road to permanent housing, local residents do not feel that Bridge Street in Stourport-on-Severn is a suitable location for this. This is too close to the town’s essential tourist areas and this application – if successful – could have a significantly negative effect on tourism and, in turn, the local economy. It is not appropriate for the local residents or for potential end users.”
Town and District Councillor Ken Henderson said, “Bridge Street is a central location at the heart of the town and tourist economy of Stourport and whatever it is used for in the longer term, it needs to be an additional attraction to the town.”
District colleague Cllr Chris Rogers, says “Whilst I understand there are a lot of concerns in respect of this application and I am listening to them, it is essential that I keep a open mind and do not predetermine my view as I sit on WFDC planning committee and will judge the application on its merits or otherwise when I have listened to the arguments for and against."