Flats for homeless in Tavistock expected to get the green light next week

By Phil Stoneham   |   Reporter   |
Friday 10th December 2021 8:00 am
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COUNCIL chiefs are ready to go ahead with controversial plans to build a refuge for homeless people in Tavistock, a report reveals.

West Devon Borough Council’s plans to demolish two properties at Spring Hill, which they own, and replace it with a purpose-built development for 11 homeless families have come under fire because objectors fear the scheme breaches conservation regulations.

But Tuesday’s Development Management and Licensing committee will be asked to give the green light to the project as long as a raft of conditions are met. It has been backed by Tavistock Town Council.

The council has said it proposes to reuse materials from the demolished buildings as part of the new development.

A report to the committee says there have been seven objections to the plan, which mostly revolve around it being in a World Heritage site and a conservation area.

But the report says: ‘The flats at Springhill have been used for a significant number of years as self-contained, temporary accommodation for homeless households with a connection to West Devon. Since its closure the council has relied upon expensive holiday accommodation and bed and breakfasts at significant cost to the public purse to fulfil its homeless duties.

‘Often this accommodation is out of the borough or in remote locations where public transport is scarce. This displacement of families can be very traumatic for children, who often are placed far away from their schools, extended families and support networks, this is in addition to the reality of being homeless. It is unlawful to use bed and breakfast accommodation for families for any longer than six weeks and in an emergency.

‘This provision would enable the council to discharge its duties to homeless households helping them to remain in the locality where they can access their healthcare and education needs for themselves and their families.’

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