Councilor warns part of Hatfield could turn into ‘ghetto’ as plans for temporary homeless shelter approved
Those at risk of becoming homeless will have a place to stay in Hatfield after councilors approved the plans last night.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has requested permission to demolish four blocks of old sheltered housing deemed unfit for use on Burfield Close and to rebuild housing for those at risk of homelessness in its place.
Hatfield City Council, however, described the movement as creating a “ghetto” in the city.
The plans would include 25 self-contained units and 18 studios with shared kitchens, as well as a staff office.
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Representing the City Council, Councilor Margaret Earnes-Petersen (Lab, Villages) said: âHatfield City Council doesn’t think it’s a balanced proposition to just put the homeless in one place as a kind of ghetto. I also know Hazel Grove House [in Bishops Rise] for example, which is built a bit like this and has not had much success. You have to think about how to help people get over their homelessness situation and on the other end and build housing that will actually help them in smaller units.
“Hatfield City Council opposes this proposal as an inappropriate destruction of an already existing community.”
The adviser also noted that Friendship House near Wellfield Close is being reopened to support the elderly in the area, and Hatfield was in need of sheltered housing which should be kept in some form or another.
A city councilor clarified that sheltered housing for the elderly had not been developed on the land for a number of years, as tenants at the time had been moved to other accommodation. The site is currently used as temporary accommodation.
Speaking in favor of the request, Agent Daniel Bangs, of Rocktownsend Architects, said the proposals would enable council to fulfill its legal obligation to provide adequate housing for homeless people in the borough.
Mr Bangs added that they had changed plans to reduce the size of the building and ensure there was sufficient parking on the site. Police had also been consulted for recommendations regarding site security, including lighting design.
The proposals received all-party support, with some members voicing concerns about the height of the building, but a flat roof will minimize the impact on neighbors.
At one point in the meeting, Councilor Lucy Musk (Lab, Haldens) said she felt a comment made was “disgusting and degrading” when a question was asked about who was likely to occupy Development.
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She said: âI’m sorry but I’m just baffled enough by the comments made about homeless people, especially as we are coming to the end of the ban on evictions and there are a lot of people in there. private accommodation. who will lose their homes through no fault of their own – so I welcome anything that helps keep people off the streets. “
Councilor Stan Tunstall (Con, Panshanger), who provided the comments, later clarified that his question regarding staff on site was about providing additional storage space for people who have been left homeless given the the smallest size of the units, and did not intend to offend.
The Applicant clarified that there will be an on-site staff office, but that it will not be staffed with permanent staff.
The plans were approved 12-1 by the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Development Management Committee on Thursday evening (August 12).
Committee chairman Councilor Jonathan Boulton (Con, Brookmans Park and Little Heath) said: and, as has been raised by several members, more temporary accommodation within the borough is a good thing and l he effective use of a site like this for such use is positive.
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