Poverty and Inequality

03.01.19

Wrexham councillors defend delay to homeless shipping container plans

Wrexham council have defended plans to house rough sleepers in shipping containers after the project was delayed until after Christmas. 

Four converted shipping container units were due to open in time for Christmas, but senior members of the independent-led local authority has said they now expect to open in mid-January.

The containers follow similar project in both Cardiff and Newport to support rough sleepers, and will be sited on Holt Road for use as temporary accommodation.

Council leaders have said there was a strict procurement process, and defended the delay by saying criticism was politically motivated.

Wrexham’s Labour MP Ian Lucas said it “upsets him deeply” that the containers were not yet available, despite the planning permission in August.

On Facebook, Lucas said that the council had promised him throughout 2018 that the “pods to house the homeless” would open “mid-December” 2018 but instead posted a picture of empty site.

The former housing minister Carl Sergeant promised the money for the project in September 2017, and over a year since his “tragic death,” the project has still not been delivered, Lucas protested.

Lucas wrote: “Earlier this year, the Council rejected using a local builder, telling me the use of a national builder would make it cheaper and more efficiently delivered.

“At a time when we all want more facilities for homeless people, in the coldest and most inclement time of year, and especially around Christmas, I despair of our Council to deliver an important project, even when the money is there.

“What does it take for the people who run the Council to do the job they are elected to do?”

Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard said he was “very disappointed” by the comments.

David Griffiths, the councillor responsible for housing in Wrexham, commented: “We want these containers to be operational as quickly as possible.

“But we also want them to be right.

“This isn't about politics - it's about vulnerable individuals who need our support.”

 

 

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