Temporary rough sleeper hub reopening to meet “ongoing need”

26 Harpur Street Screenshot Google Streetview (C)2023 Google Image capture June 2023
26 Harpur Street Screenshot Google Streetview (C)2023 Image: Google Image capture June 2023

Bedford Borough Council is reopening a temporary rough sleeper assessment hub in Bedford to meet “ongoing need”.

Yesterday’s Planning Committee (November 20) voted unanimously to grant three years’ temporary change of use for 26 Harpur Street from offices to a rough sleeper assessment hub and emergency bed provision.

Gideon Richards, team leader development management, told the committee that the application was before them as the council was the applicant.

“The site was previously used in 2019 as temporary accommodation for rough sleepers and a centre for rough sleep assessment,” he said.

“This temporary permission expired in July 2022. Due to the ongoing demand for this type of accommodation, the applicant is seeking a further three-year temporary permission.”

Ward councillor Ben Foley (Green, Greyfriars) said: “I’ve got to say, I’m remarkably unconcerned about this particular application, given that it is an application for temporary accommodation within my ward.

“This is about the best possible location within Greyfriars Ward. I will be, of course, paying a lot of attention to the operation of the centre when it is in operation, but I have no great concerns about this particular application.”

The three-storey, mid-terraced building will have an assessment unit on the ground floor, bedrooms on the first floor, and storage, a kitchen and bathroom facilities on the second.

The report presented to the committee said the site is “well served” by existing transport infrastructure.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter