PLANS to spend around £600,000 to turn Pinewood village hall into a hub for the homeless are set to be given the go-ahead by councillors.
Planning permission to convert the hall owned by East Hampshire District Council into seven studio flats - with three ’mobile’-style homes outside it - was given last July by district council planners.
At its meeting next Thursday (September 9), the council’s Conservative-controlled cabinet is looking to give the go-ahead to convert the hall that closed in October 2018.
The council’s deputy leader Cllr Julie Butler said: "The proposal is an exciting scheme and the first of its kind, I believe - quite unique."
Six of the studio flats are for single people, one flat is for a couple, another has wheelchair access for a couple, and two have bedrooms for a couple and a child.
It’s planned the hub will be for short-stay accommodation while those staying there are found a more permanent home.
It is hoped the estimated hub time for each user will be around six weeks, says the council.
Cllr Butler added: "It won’t be there just for people who are obviously homeless.
"It will also be for people who have been evicted, sofa surfers, and young people struggling to find accommodation."
Bentley-based Velocity RDT, which has offices near Farnham, is behind the scheme to convert the hall in Rydal Close, Lindford.
In a supporting letter to the council, Velocity founder and director Simon Poyser said temporary homeless accommodation was needed in East Hampshire.
The letter added: "Over a 12-month period, the council saw 620 people regarding homelessness, of which 41 were placed in temporary bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
"To suggest temporary accommodation is not needed is not accurate.
"The carbon footprint needed to built these is far less than traditional flats - it’s a unique design."
Objections have included a loss of a community amenity, not enough parking once the ’mobile homes’ are sited, and a dangerous exit on to the High Street.
Currently, the council has access to only one local temporary bed-and-breakfast hotel in Rowlands Castle.
It uses others in Bognor, Slough, Waterlooville, Gosport and Aldershot.