Agenda item

Options Appraisal for Delivering Future Single Rough Sleeper and Homeless Accommodation in Somerset West and Taunton

This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Housing, Councillor Francesca Smith.


This report provides;

·         An update on progress made since November,

·         Recommendations in relation to the future use of Canonsgrove, and

·         Future actions and activity to increase the supply of accommodation and better outcomes for single homeless in the District.


During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors were proud of how much the Housing Team had achieved in supporting rough sleepers in the area.

·       Councillors thanked the officers for their considered approach to the housing provision during the Covid Pandemic.

·       Councillors queried if there was any provision in place if Bridgwater College did not extend the lease.

The Assistant Director for Housing advised that he was hopeful that the lease would be extended.  He advised that Bridgwater College had been very supportive to date.

·       Councillors agreed that the Council should be proud of the work that had been carried out to support rough sleepers, which was above and beyond that which the Government had set out to achieve.

·       Councillors queried whether there were any plans for the decommissioning of the Canonsgrove site.

The Assistant Director for Housing advised that he would communicate with the local residents and groups about any decommissioning plans.  He understood their concerns and would like to arrange a meeting to debate the plans properly.

·       Councillors agreed they wanted the best outcome for rough sleepers especially during the Covid Pandemic, however, they wanted a long term solution which would hopefully be achieved through the work carried out on the Strategy.

·       Councillors thanked the other hotels and houses in the district for their support during the Covid Pandemic.

·       Councillors were happy to support the scheme for the whole of the district as long as the works were proportionate and considerate of the local community.

·       Councillors wanted to ensure that the necessary support services were in place for the residents of Canonsgrove to access.

·       Councillors were keen to support the vulnerable residents of the district through the work on the Strategy.

·       Councillors thanked the Portfolio Holder for Housing and the Housing Team for all their hard work.

The Portfolio Holder for Housing thanked all for their positive comments and reminded Councillors that the work being carried out was for the Strategy to end homelessness by 2027 and that it was not just about the work achieved at Canonsgrove.


Resolved that the Executive:-

2.1Noted and supported the draft Single Homeless Accommodation Strategy including its vision and objectives as a working document to articulate SWT ambition to end rough sleeping in the district by 2027 (Appendix 1).

2.2Approved recommended option one as set out in paragraph 4.38 as the preferred Council option for the future contribution of the Canonsgrove site to support the provision of single homeless accommodation in the District. 

2.3Should option two be preferred by the Executive the service requested a supplementary budget of £130k, as identified in the report to the Executive in November 2020. This budget was to prepare for the purchase and conversion of Canonsgrove.  Officers would return to the Council to request permission and the budget for the purchase and works for the site. 

2.4Officers to improve engagement and two-way communication with Trull residents and stakeholders.  This would be through direct engagement with the community as well as attendance at an appropriate forum to engage with the Parish Council and community representatives.

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