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Plans for homeless hostel in Walsall dropped

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | News | Published:

Plans to turn a former Walsall nursing home into a hostel for the homeless have been scrapped.

The former Orchard Manor care home

An application was submitted for the change of use of the former Orchard Manor care home at 42 Slaney Road, but the plan has now been withdrawn.

The hostel was planned to run as a Supported Housing of Multiple Occupation Scheme and be operated by Midshire Supported Housing Trust.

It was going to be used by people who experience "persistent homelessness issues", "low to medium level mental health issues", "low to medium level learning issues", and people with substance misuse problems, according to a report in the application.

Tenants were expected to live at the hostel for between three and six months at a time.

But petitions with a total of 85 signatures, 31 letters of objection, and an objection from MP Valerie Vaz were handed to the council.

Concerns

Housing Standards also raised concerns that the hostel would bring a large number of ex-offenders to the area.

The plan was recommended for approval by planning officers when it went before Walsall Council in January but it was put on hold over concerns with anti-social behaviour.

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The authority's planning committee decided to consult police before a decision was made.

Midshire Supported Housing Trust owns a similar hostel in Birmingham, and before making a decision on the plans, Walsall Council wanted to hear from Birmingham police on their experiences handling it.

But now the plan has been withdrawn from the council's website.

The existing building has 31 bedrooms, three offices, 11 bathrooms, two laundry rooms, a medical room, two lounges and a cleaner's store.

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Under the plans, the hostel would have 44 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, an office, laundry, kitchen, and a dining/lounge area.

The hostel would create eight jobs. And five new car parking spaces would be created for the employees.

A previous application for a hostel was rejected in 2014.

Midshire Supported Housing Trust has been contacted for comment.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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