Bristol

Bath homeless shelter plans scrapped

Plans for a homeless shelter in Bath have been scrapped by the council because of its £3m cost.

If built, the shelter would have housed people in a Grade II-listed building in the city centre.

Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Ball said he had asked officers to stop any further work on the project.

The plans were drawn up by the previous Conservative administration three years ago. The party said shelving them was "completely unacceptable".

Plans for the homeless shelter were originally drawn up by the council and charities, such as Somer Housing Trust, St Mungos and Julian's House in Bath.

In April, the housing charities applied for about £2m in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), in addition to match-funding from the council.

According to the Lib Dems, the overall cost of project was in the region of £5m.

'Lots of opposition'

Mr Ball said: "The council was asked to give a commitment of £3m and as a result they pulled out.

"It was for a scheme they didn't have planning permission for, at a Grade II-listed building where there was lots of opposition."

The Lib Dems have said that, at best, the shelter would house about 25 people, compared to the initial estimate of 60 people.

Les Kew, shadow cabinet member for homes and planning, said: "This has long been an issue of major concern to residents and businesses in the city and one which the council cannot sideline.

"Funding for the project was already budgeted for and remains in the council's budget for this purpose."

The council has said it will explore other ways of addressing homelessness in Bath.

"We have commissioned a report from the scrutiny panel to look at the homeless situation to draw up plans on what can be done. We want a realistic report of what the council can deliver," said Mr Ball.

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