A PLANNING application to use a former care home as homeless accommodation has been made by a council. 

The Severn View Care home, in Chepstow, closed in March when residents moved to Monmouthshire council’s new 32-bed home at nearby Portskewett. 

In February the council confirmed it was considering using the soon to be empty two-storey property as homeless accommodation to cut the amount it spends on bed and breakfast accommodation. 

It has now submitted an application, to its planning department, for change of use permission from residential care home to temporary emergency accommodation for the homeless. 

It also plans to use the commercial kitchen, on the first floor, for its Monmouthshire Community Meals on wheels service so it can prepare and cook meals, rather than buying them in, and using hydrogen vehicles for delivery

Staff and community training will also be part of the community meals proposal which will make use of one of the buildings’ kitchenets and its planned homeless residents could benefit from the community training available. 

A detailed management plan is included with the application which confirms in the first instance the council only intends using part of the 32-bed home to house 17 single homeless people. 

It states: “At this stage it is not proposed to use the whole building for temporary accommodation. The Housing Options Team will initially utilise the left/south wing of the building, with possible future plans for accessible temporary accommodation and emergency accommodation being considered in for the right/north wing. No decision has been made on this and would be subject to formal review.” 

A dedicated coordinator will work from the home, during office hours, and council support staff, to deliver one to one support will also be based at the site and other agencies will also visit.  

There will also be a 24 hour concierge service to operate the door, logging visitors and act as overnight security. Local residents will be given contact numbers for the coordinator and security staff. 

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Residents will not be permitted to have personal visitors to the accommodation, which is offered as part of the council’s rapid rehousing approach, and it is intended they will stay for a short period while they look for other temporary or permanent accommodation. 

They will be provided with a fridge/freezer and space for food storage in their rooms with access to a communal kitchen and lounge, bathroom and laundry facilities. 

It is intended using the home will save the council £400,000 on bed and breakfast bills but Cllr Paul Griffiths, the Labour cabinet member responsible for housing, said, when questioned by councillors in February, the 17 rooms would only be “a fraction” of the total amount it spends on B&Bs

Pedestrian access will be restricted the front of the building, off Mounton Road, and only council staff, contractors and visiting support agencies will have access to the 23 space car park and residents wouldn’t have unsupervised access to the rear. 

Privacy film will be used to obscure some windows but as it is presently only intended to use the left/south wing, residents’ rooms will overlook the non-residential area to the front rather than neighbouring properties. 

The application is being considered by the planning department.