YEOVIL: Pathway’s homeless facility could be part of regeneration
A homeless facility in Yeovil town centre could become part of ongoing regeneration efforts once its replacement is up and running.
South Somerset District Council currently contracts the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA) to provide emergency accommodation at the Pathways site on Newton Road in Yeovil to homeless single people from across the district.
The council’s district executive committee agreed in early-June to provide the BCHA with nearly £400,000 towards the purchase of a replacement facility outside of the town centre, with Homes England putting up the remainder of the funding.
The council has now revealed the Pathways site could be redeveloped as part of its Yeovil Refresh programme, with officers currently working on detailed proposals.
The Yeovil Refresh programme contains a number of measures designed to revitalise the town centre, including a number of improvements to the public realm which are being implemented over the course of the summer.
The council said it was exploring the future use of Newton Road, so that any future use of the building – whether residential or commercial – would enhance the work already being undertaken.
A spokesman said: “There is a real opportunity to work closely with BCHA as part of the Yeovil Refresh to redevelop Newton Road in a completely different way, contributing to the regeneration of a vital area in the town centre.
“Any plans for this site will be made public as soon as they are available.”
The council has declined to reveal the precise location of the new facility,since its negotiations with the current owner remain ongoing.
It has also refused to confirm whether the facility was a care home or nursing home – despite it being described in official reports as “a purpose-built and contemporary care-based facility” with 39 self-contained beds.
It has, however, offered assurances that the facility would not lead to a rise in antisocial behaviour or other issues, following criticism of the Canonsgrove facility near Taunton.
A spokesman said: “Feedback from the police about the proposed new site has been very positive.
“Plans are now being discussed with BCHA and the police to put in place measures from the outset to establish a more secure environment.
“The new premises will enable BCHA to provide specialist, tailored support to residents in a safe environment similar to other services they run in Plymouth and Exeter.
“BCHA are currently in negotiations with the current owner over the purchase price. Initial discussions with Homes England are constructive and they will be considering a grant application.
“It is not possible to put a precise time-frame on this at the moment while negotiations continue and grant applications are considered, but we will do all we can to ensure the success of this proposal as quickly as possible.”
“We have agreed a target with the government to reduce rough sleeping in South Somerset to zero by the end of 2021.
“Investing in and securing this new premises will helps us deal with the immediate situation, but will also secure a more positive and effective facility that will contribute to reduced homelessness and rough sleeping in the district, particularly in Yeovil town centre.”
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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