AN application for homeless accommodation on Stow Hill has been refused by members of Newport City Council’s planning committee.

The plans for 12 self-contained pods, intended to be used as temporary accommodation, were refused due to conservation concerns.

Five councillors voted to refuse the application, which submitted by Linc Cymru housing association, compared to four councillors voting to approve it.

Prior to the decision, planning officer Stephen Williams said: “Whilst impact on the conservation area is a significant consideration, it needs to be balanced against the need to tackle homelessness, and we as officers have given this consideration significant weight.”

More News

Dog which killed Caerphilly boy Jack Lis not a banned breed

Woman ‘frozen with fear during rape by teacher’ in Pontypool

Paedophile went to Cwmbran Boating Lake for sex with boy, 12

According to the report, the proposed site is in close proximity to a number of listed buildings, including the former United Reform Church.

The council’s conservation officer objected to the application and said: “The building’s form, proportion and finishes and its relationship with the street seem to be entirely at odds with the character of the area.”

Ward councillors for Stow Hill, Cllr Miqdad Al-Nuaimi and Cllr Kate Thomas both made representations at the meeting held on Wednesday, December 1.

Cllr Thomas said: “Cllr Al-Nuaimi and I recognise the huge pressure to provide housing for people who have under gone significant circumstances that have disrupted their life, but I am not sure that this is the appropriate place for it.”

Cllr Al-Nuaimi said that applications such as these were having  detrimental effect on the community.

The pods are approximately 37 square metres in size, falling short of the council’s guidance.

Cllr Al-Nuaimi said: “I understand they are better than somebody sleeping on the streets but they are pods.”

Cllr Trevor Watkins, who represents Tredegar Park, commented on the size of the accommodation and said “it is just like living in a caravan”.

Natalie Thompson, the council’s housing needs unit manager, said the “demand on services at the moment is extremely high”.

The pods were intended to be used as temporary accommodation for those currently staying in bed and breakfasts, and then they would move on to permanent accommodation.

Ms Thompson said the self-contained pods would provide those living in them with privacy, which is a “step-up” from the current accommodation available to them – housing of multiple occupancy (HMO).

Ms Thompson added that out of 380 households living in temporary accommodation, 270 of these were single person households.

Cllr Jason Jordan, who represents Bettws, said: “We know for a fact people in one-bedroom accommodation are waiting years and years for a property.”