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White House Hostel

23 October 2020

Spelthorne Borough Council are pleased to inform that, following a thorough procurement process, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH) have won a five-year contract to provide an intensive housing management and resident support service at two of the Council's residential developments. The White House and Harper House, both in Ashford are due to open for new residents in May 2021.

Once completed, Harper House will bring local homeless families back into the Borough and out of Bed and Breakfast accommodation. The new development includes 20 self-contained flats, cycle, and car parking as well as a garden to the rear. Residents will benefit from a seven-day service from MTVH.

The White House will comprise 27 en-suite rooms with shared kitchens, and four self-contained studio flats, designed for single, homeless people who need support in moving to more settled accommodation. Over the next six months, MTVH and the Council will be working together with partners, including health care, police, and mental health teams to ensure that existing services and new opportunities are identified to fully benefit residents to meet their support goals. The care and support team will run the service on site as well as working daily with the Council's housing team.

Cllr Maureen Attewell, Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing, said: "The White House will provide support and assistance for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. We know that the Coronavirus has had a major impact on our Borough's wellbeing, and I am delighted that these new homes will provide the support these people deserve and help them get back onto their own two feet. I look forward to working with Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, and our other partners to ensure our residents are appropriately supported."

Cllr John Boughtflower, Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: "This Council puts residents first and by delivering both the White House and Harper House schemes, we will ensure that some of our most vulnerable residents receive the support that they need to find a settled home. These last few months have shown, as a Council, how much we care for our residents. Both sites will give us facilities which will allow those residents, who have fallen on hard times, an opportunity to rebuild their lives. I look forward to their openings next spring."

MTVH are the second largest provider of social housing in the Borough and have a wealth of experience in providing care and support services for more than 20 years, and now supports approximately 7,500 customers and 5,700 homes nationally. As part of their successful bid, they will offer on-site staff, 24/7 cover, bespoke training, support, and education packages for residents. Ann Gibbons, Executive Director of Customer Services at MTVH said: "We are delighted to be working with Spelthorne Borough Council to provide homelessness support services at Harper House and the White House. At MTVH, we are committed to supporting people to access the support they need to establish settled futures and, given the impact of the pandemic on people's financial security, it is particularly important to expand homelessness services at this time. We hope that through the provision of resident support services at Harper House and the White House, we can support more people to move on to a safe, permanent home."

About MTVH

Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTVH) is one of the UK's largest housing associations, providing affordable homes, and care and support services. It owns, manages, or administers more than 57,000 homes across London, the South East, East Midlands and East of England. 

MTVH was formed in October 2018 when Metropolitan and Thames Valley Housing came together as a new group. It is a member of the National Housing Federation and the g15, which represents London's largest housing associations and houses one in ten Londoners. MTVH believes everyone should have a home and the opportunity to live well. 

MTVH are experienced in supporting customers in 4 main needs groups:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Older people
  • Mental health
  • Transitional pathway services, including homelessness

Its corporate website is mtvh.co.uk and you can follow it on Twitter @MetTVH

February 2020

Construction on the new hostel at The White House has commenced and is expected to complete in March 2021. Contract negotiations with The Salvation Army and The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) for the management and running of the hostel are ongoing. 

The Council were advised towards the end of 2019 that the application for grant funding from Homes England was successful and were awarded £2 million towards construction costs. A condition of this grant funding is that the hostel is completed and the first residents move in by March 2021.

To protect the Council's position, and to ensure that the hostel opens on time, we will shortly be starting a procurement process to identify alternative specialist housing management and resident support service providers. We will also be developing and designing a Direct Delivery Model (DDM) where the Council will retain responsibility for the management and running of the hostel using specialist staff. A final decision on the delivery method for specialist housing management and resident support service will be made by Cabinet later in 2020. 

September 2019

Planning Committee - Wednesday 18 September 2019

Spelthorne Borough Council is pleased to announce a planning application has been approved to build the White House Hostel on Kingston Road, Ashford.

On the evening of Wednesday 18 September a meeting was held at the Council offices with local resident representatives, officers from the Council, local ward councillors and The Salvation Army where a decision was made to move forward with the proposal. The hostel will have 27 en-suite rooms, a shared kitchen and living facilities in groups of three to five rooms, with four self-contained flats for clients moving on from the shared facilities. Space for education and training will be available on the ground floor.

The Salvation Army, given their extensive track record of successfully delivering similar schemes across the country, will be managing the building and supporting residents, providing 24-hour on-site staff cover.

Completion for the hostel is expected early 2021.

View the report (item 4)

 June 2019

The Council are proposing to build a hostel for single homeless people who need help and support to move onto settled accommodation. We have identified The White House site on Kingston Road, Ashford, as the best possible location for the accommodation.

On the evening of Tuesday 23 July, a meeting was held at the Council Offices with local resident representatives, officers from the Council, local ward and county councillors and The Salvation Army. The purpose of the meeting was to provide clarity on the Council's proposals for the White House site, and to answer questions in relation to the project.

More information can be found online, or by searching for planning application 19/00815/FUL on My Spelthorne. Resident and stakeholder feedback is welcome as part of the planning consultation up until the point at which the application is heard at Planning Commitee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the project?
How many rooms will there be?
Why does Spelthorne need a hostel and who is it for?
Who will run it?
Why the location?
What other options have been explored?
What about the impact on traffic?
Hasn't there been another hostel locally which has had to close down?
Where can I find out more information?
Can I comment on the planning application even though the statutory consultation period ended on 3 July?
Why was there no public exhibition by the applicant?

What is the project?

The Council are proposing to build a hostel for single homeless people who need help and support to move onto settled accommodation. We have identified The White House site on Kingston Road, Ashford, as the best possible location for the accommodation.

The hostel will provide much-needed specialist accommodation to homeless individuals with multiple and complex needs who are not able to access currently available accommodation options, and who would otherwise be in costly nightly paid accommodation without the support that they need, or in the worst of cases, sleeping rough on local streets. This project is supporting local need, as well as the national strategy in the ultimate eradication of rough sleeping by 2025 as contained in the Government's Rough Sleeping Strategy.

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How many rooms will there be?

In September 2019 the planning application was approved which included 27 en-suite rooms with shared kitchen and living facilities in groups of three to five rooms. In addition there will be four self-contained flats for clients moving on from the shared facilities. We have also built in some education and training space on the ground floor.

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Why does Spelthorne need a hostel and who is it for?

The hostel is designed for single homeless people, including those with complex needs. It is not a designated bail hostel.

There are many types of homeless households, and it does not just include people sleeping on the streets. As a result of a number of factors, such as affordability pressures, austerity cuts to health and social care services and changes to the welfare benefits system, since 2009, the numbers of statutorily homeless households, those owed a longer term re- housing duty, has increased significantly.

The Housing Options team currently have a caseload of 290 households who all have a varying degree of housing need, which can include:

  • young people aged 16 to 17
  • older people
  • care leavers
  • those with physical ill health
  • those with mental ill health
  • those with a learning disability
  • those with a history of abuse (domestic, sexual, etc)
  • those with drug and/or alcohol dependencies
  • those with offending history and/or institutionalisation
  • rough sleepers, including those 'entrenched' on the streets

When we refer to clients who may have 'complex needs', we mean that they may fit into more than one category above. The hostel will work with the individual to overcome barriers that they face in accessing longer term, stable accommodation.

Whilst the number of rough sleepers in Spelthorne can fluctuate, as of February 2020 the Council are aware of 11 rough sleepers. Each November Spelthorne Council is legally required to carry out an estimate of the number of rough sleepers in the Borough. 

There are currently 18 single person households in nightly paid accommodation who would have otherwise been referred to this hostel. We estimate that the cost savings to the Council's emergency accommodation budget will be £65,000 per year as a result of the reduction in use.

In order to meet the needs of our diverse client base, the local authority has a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy. A revised Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy is due to be approved by Cabinet in March 2020.

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Who will run it?

Whilst the Council will retain ownership of the building, have been working on entering into a contract with The Salvation Army to fully manage the building and support residents. 

The Council were advised towards the end of 2019 that the application for grant funding from Homes England was successful and we were awarded £2 million towards construction costs. A condition of this grant funding is that the hostel is completed and the first residents move in by March 2021.

To protect the Council's position, and to ensure that the hostel opens on time, we will shortly be starting a procurement process to identify alternative specialist housing management and resident support service providers. We will also be developing and designing a Direct Delivery Model (DDM) where the Council will retain responsibility for the management and running of the hostel using specialist staff. A final decision on the delivery method for specialist housing management and resident support service will be made by Cabinet later in 2020. 

The specialist housing management and resident support service will provide 24-hour on-site staff cover with staff who are principally employed based on experience in working with the target client group and receive on-going comprehensive training on handing the complex needs of residents.

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Why the location?

For this type of accommodation, it is important that the location is sustainable for the residents and the local community. This would, ideally, be in a non-central location, to aid focus on rehabilitation, counselling and care. The White House presents a unique opportunity for this specialist accommodation provision.

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What other options have been explored?

Alternative routes of providing this kind of accommodation could include:

  • purchase of existing residential dwellings ('street properties') or commercial sites - this would be extremely expensive as we would be paying market price per unit, plus then we would have the costs to convert the accommodation to HMO standards
  • incentivising private registered providers of social housing to deliver a scheme elsewhere in the borough - highly unlikely to happen given the evidence above that affordable housing delivery is already not forthcoming in the quantum needed

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What about the impact on traffic?

As part of the planning application process, a Transport Statement has been carried out. The assessment includes a trip generation assessment which has confirmed the low level of predicted peak hour vehicle trip generation associated with the proposed development.

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Hasn't there been another hostel locally which has had to close down?

We are aware of rumours circulating on social media and amongst residents that there has been a hostel in the local area which was allegedly forced to close down. Neither Housing nor Environmental Health are aware of this. Should any resident have any specific information on this, please report this to housingstrategy@spelthorne.gov.uk so that it can be looked into further.

The reason that we are looking to build this accommodation is because of the lack of suitable provision locally.

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Where can I find out more information?

The proposals are currently open for consultation with the Council's Planning team.

More information can be found online, or by searching for planning application 19/00815/FUL on My Spelthorne.. We would specifically draw your attention to the Planning Statement which provides more detail on the need for the hostel.

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Why was there no public exhibition by the applicant prior to the planning application being submitted?

There is no legal requirement on any applicant to carry out any pre-application public exhibitions prior to a planning application of this scale being submitted.

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