A PLAN which would provide vital housing for homeless people has been drawn up.
The charity Wirral Ark wants to turn a former care home on Prenton Road West in Prenton into 15 self-contained flats for homeless people in the borough.
The proposal will be voted by Wirral Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (May 12).
The site – called Abbeyfield House – would form part of the effort to address a serious shortage of accommodation for homeless people in Wirral.
As the council officer's report said: "There is a significant shortage in the Wirral of midterm 'move on' accommodation for recently homeless people to use to prepare for long-term permanent accommodation.
"This results in the short-term accommodation becoming full of people who are ready to 'move on' but are unable to find a place to move on to."
This is one issue fueling the continuing problem with homelessness in the borough.
Abbeyfield House is a large detached two-and-a-half storey property, with a two storey rear extension.
Now vacant, the most recent use of the property was as a residential care home.
Little material work will be required to turn the building into suitable accommodation for homeless people, because just like those living in the former residential care home they too will live independently in their rooms.
This proposal was put forward before the coronavirus outbreak, but the issue of homelessness is something which is all the more concerning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
By the nature of their existence, it is very difficult for homeless people to isolate themselves from others and observe social distancing.
During this time more than ever, getting homeless people off the street and into secure accomodation is a huge goal for all local authorities.
But 44 people have objected to this plan, with most complaining about the impact it would have on the character of the area, as well as the community and local services.
There was also a petition against the plans signed by 29 people, but this was submitted when the proposal was simply described as being for 15 flats and did not include the fact that they would be specifically for homeless people.
Therefore, the petition's concern with the development's impact on traffic was not so relevant, as it will not result in many new cars in the area.
The petition was also concerned with potential waste storage issues and the concentration of flats at the site, which petitioners said was not in keeping with the surrounding area.
The flats will be open to individual tenants over the age of 25 who require support to keep a roof over their head.
Support workers will be available at the site to help with tasks such as repairs and maintenance, budgeting, benefit claims and sorting out a place for residents to 'move on' to once they are capable of doing so.
This level of support will help them to develop basic living skills and increased confidence before moving into fully independent housing, as is the case at Wirral Ark’s other properties where tenants live in shared houses or bedsits.
Next week's meeting will also debate a plan for six one bedroom and 21 two bedroom apartments on Birkenhead Road in Meols and the retention of a fence at Meols Railway Station.