Night shelter’s planning bid

Trustees of Atherton and Leigh Shelter for HoPe outside the Etherstone Street building
Trustees of Atherton and Leigh Shelter for HoPe outside the Etherstone Street building

A night shelter getting homeless people off the streets has applied for planning permission for a Leigh base.

The Atherton and Leigh Shelter for HoPe has put in the application to Wigan Council to turn the former Stonehouse Children and Families Centre, just off St Helens Road, into the emergency facility.

The change of use is for the four months this year but I would love the night shelter to be permanently based here

Night shelter founder Warren Done

The night shelter has taken the fairly common step of applying for retrospective planning permission as it has already been open for several weeks to meet rising demand from those struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

The organisation, which has previously been based in churches, is hoping the council building on Etherstone Street could become its permanent headquarters.

The presence of the facility for homeless people has already been supported by businesses in the area.

Night shelter founder Warren Done said: “The change of use is for the four months this year but I would love the night shelter to be permanently based here. We will have to wait and see on that.

“It’s a council building and we’ve had great support from them.

“We’re also being supported by some of our neighbours. There’s a cafe across the road where some of our guests sometimes go during the day, and they are writing to the council saying they approve of the application and would like us to carry on.”

Mr Done says he is also working on funding applications to expand the work of the night shelter, which is helping roughly double the number of people it supported in 2016.

Around 25 different homeless people came through the doors in the first three weeks of the shelter being open.

The planning application is a change of use bid for the facility to be open Monday to Saturday from 7.30pm until 8am, with people being offered beds for the night in men’s and women’s dormitories, washing and showering facilities and a hot breakfast.

The application is for a 15-bed night shelter, with all the homeless people being referred to the organisation from other agencies working with those living on the street.

A target date of March 27 has been set for the decision, which will be made by council officers.

For more information about visit www.facebook.com/ALshelterforHoPe