A planning application has been submitted for the demolition of the Harper House emergency accommodation facility in Ashford and its replacement with a state-of-the-art facility on the same site, offering best-in-class emergency housing for up to 20 families.
The new Harper House will be a significant improvement on the old building, as we re-provide the existing number of units to make the facility more liveable. An application for grant funding from Homes England will shortly be submitted.
We will update this page as resident feedback is received.
What is Harper House?
What is the proposal?
How big will it be?
Why does this need to happen?
Who will run it?
What is the anticipated timescale for the development?
What about the other hostel that you are building?
What are the arrangements for parking?
Where can I give my comments on the planning application?
Where can I find out more information?
Harper House is the Council's main temporary accommodation for local homeless households. A third-party support provider is contracted to manage the property and provide support to residents, but is not based on-site.
The Council is seeking planning permission to demolish the existing Harper House building and re-build a purpose-built temporary accommodation facility for local families. We plan to seek grant funding for this project from Homes England.
The plans are for twenty self-contained rooms of various sizes. Two of the rooms will be wheelchair accessible. There will also be a communal laundry and an office from which an enhanced management and support service can be provided.
The existing building requires a high level of ongoing maintenance in its existing state and the layout of the building presents access issues to residents with mobility needs. Additionally, there is not enough space or welfare facilities on-site for staff to be based there for more than a couple of hours at a time. As a result, we have to have 'floating' management and support arrangements in place, where the provider is based elsewhere.
We want to ensure that we are offering homeless families a temporary home which is safe, secure and provides the best opportunity for them to move-on to settled accommodation. The proposals will enhance the street scene of the local community.
The Council plans to enter into a new contract with a third-party to provide enhanced management and support services to residents. This will involve staff being based on-site for at least the working day, if not over extended hours. If you have any feedback or comments on the existing management arrangements of Harper House, please get in touch, as we would like to consider your feedback as part of the procurement process for the new provider.
Subject to receiving planning permission, we hope to start on site before the end of 2019, with practical completion expected around January 2021. This would mean that new residents would start to move in from around March 2021 onwards.
It is important to make the distinction that Harper House is not a hostel and is an entirely different service to the proposed White House hostel.
The proposed development provides for the same number of units which are in the existing building, but is providing two extra parking spaces compared to what is currently available. There is not therefore judged to be any adverse effect on adjacent highways. For more information, please see paragraphs 7.12 to 7.15 of the Officers Report attached to the planning application.
The statutory period of consultation on the planning application runs to 21 August, however the Planning team generally receive all comments up to the point at which a decision is made. We hope that the application will go to Planning Committee for a decision in either September or October.
The proposals are available on the Council's website through the planning portal. The application number is 19/01029/FUL. If you have any further questions about the project then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.