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.

Icon for pdf White House Minutes of Residents Meeting 23 July 2019 [99.83KB]

Icon for pdf White House Resident Questions 23 July 2019 [90.93KB]

Icon for pdf White House Presentation to Residents 23 July 2019 [1.48MB]

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 2027 as contained in the Government's Rough Sleeping Strategy.

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How many rooms will there be?

The application is currently at planning stage, but proposals are for 27 en-suite rooms. It is planned there will be 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. We have also built in some education and training space on the ground floor.

The number of units in the scheme have been optimised to maximise the land use, and the number of units to make the scheme financially viable for the Salvation Army to run. Spelthorne Borough Council also recognises that there is not likely to be a requirement for further provision of this sort for many years (if at all) and so it must take the opportunity to maximise provision on this site.

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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, in June 2019 13 were engaged with our Rough Sleeper Coordinator. Each November, Spelthorne carries out an estimate of the number of rough sleepers:

There are currently 17 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 Strategy. Our current strategy, which is due for renewal in 2019, contains eight strategic priorities which outline our approach to supporting clients, demonstrative of the requirement to have a 'multi-pronged' approach, given that one size does not fit all.

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Who will run it?

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

Through a market consultation, the Salvation Army have been selected as the supplier of the service moving forward and to take the lease of the property, given their extensive track record of successfully delivering similar schemes across the country. Their ethos and nationally known branding / identity supports service delivery and they have access to resources and funding which most private registered providers of this type of accommodation do not have access to.

The Salvation Army will be providing 24-hour on-site staff cover. Staff are principally employed based on experience in working with the target client group, or in the alternative receive comprehensive training on handing the complex needs of residents. We are therefore extremely confident that Salvation Army have trained and supervised staff to deal with any instances that may arise.

More information on the ways in which The Salvation Army run supported living schemes can be found at on their website.

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Why the location?

For the proposed 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 proposed location 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 based, amongst other things, upon data from another Salvation Army hostel. 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. The Council will still accept representations from residents and stakeholders beyond 3 July 2019, up to the point at which a decision is made.

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Can I comment on the planning application even though the statutory consultation period ended on 3 July?

The White House Hostel Planning Application (relating to the erection of 27 bed and 4 flat hostel with associated parking, servicing and landscaping at the White House, Kingston Road, Ashford, TW15 3SE) was  submitted by Spelthorne Borough Council and the statutory consultation period ends on 3 July 2019 . 

The plans and documents can be viewed online and the link also provides access to where comments on the planning application can be made.  A FAQ document is available to view.

However the Planning Department will welcome all comments up to the decision date.  The planning application is currently being processed and will be determined by the Planning Committee in due course. The possible committee meeting dates are 21 August or 18 September.  Anyone who has written to the Planning Department with their comments on this planning application will be advised of the meeting date five days before the meeting is due to be held.

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. The Council will still accept representations from residents and stakeholders beyond 3 July 2019, up to the point at which a decision is made.

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.