COUNCIL chiefs are being urged to save a Leamington homeless shelter facing eviction after plans for an alternative premises fell through.
LWS Night Shelter – based at the former Priors Club in Tower Street – is threatened with being made homeless in a matter of weeks.
The organisation, which provides overnight accommodation for the town’s homeless community on Fridays and Saturdays, was set to move to the former Old Italian Club in Packington Place, off High Street.
Warwick District Council (WDC), which backed the plans, had applied for planning permission to revamp the long derelict building, including the creation of a dormitory style room, a kitchen and communal dining area.
But early on the building was found to be unfit for further redevelopment, despite previous beliefs the building was structurally sound.
And now with eviction looming, the shelter is desperate to find a new home.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has sent a letter to WDC leader Andrew Day calling on the authority to find alternative premises for the charity.
He said: “It’s extremely disappointing that LWS were told that they would be able to use the Italian Club premises but this is no longer available to them.
“I’ve asked the council to find alternative premises for the charity as those who depend on LWS will be left without their valued and compassionate support.
“It’s simply a shocking indictment of our society that we are in the situation where we are so reliant on charities to provide services for an increasing number of people who are in poverty, hungry, rough sleeping or homeless. It is my strong belief that while the government are not doing enough to address poverty and reduce rough sleeping, we should support charities as much as possible.”
A spokeswoman for WDC said the council was committed to eradicating rough sleeping in the district although no council buildings were available to accommodate the organisation.
She told the Observer: “Throughout this time the council’s housing team has maintained a good relationship with LWS and has been working with them to seek alternative accommodation, when it was found that the building at Packington Place was not a viable option for their requirements. Unfortunately, the council does not itself have any readily available buildings.
“We do however still want to help LWS to find a solution to either find new premises or explore the possibility for them to co-locate with one of the other volunteer agencies and would welcome further dialogue.”
She added the council had been working with the local voluntary sector and several measures, including a new homeless hostel in Lillington Road, street outreach services and new supported housing flats, had been introduced.
Following its annual rough sleeper count – which takes place when the town’s two shelters are closed – the council reported between six and nine people sleeping rough compared to 21 just over a year ago.
Search ‘LWS Night Shelter’ on Facebook for more details.