Former Dagenham convent approved for £8m homeless hostel
14:30 14 February 2017
A former convent is set to shelter more than 70 vulnerable people to meet the capital’s “spiralling” housing crisis.
The former Sacred Heart convent in Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, is to be transformed into 17 units of temporary accommodation for couples and single people after cabinet members gave their backing to the refurbishment last night.
Under the £8.4m plans, up to 63 flats for families and couples will be created through an extension into the car park area, while part of the ground floor space could be rented by an artist.
Speaking at Barking Town Hall, Cllr Dominic Twomey, cabinet member for finance, growth and investment, said: “Many of our vulnerable residents are in accommodation, in many ways we would like to offer better.
“Even though the numbers are small, it will clearly help a number of families that for a number of reasons have hit hard times and are struggling to find accommodation.”
The report notes that the existing homeless hostels in the borough are “always full” and these proposals for both single people and families would help ease the “severity of the current position regarding demand, supply and costs”.
After purchasing the land in 2016, Barking and Dagenham Council had originally earmarked the building for a 60-bed care home – but received objections for issues relating to loss of light, tree and traffic.
The report notes these issues had been “flagged up” with the planning team, and describes a “sympathetic renovation” in a mews and courtyard configuration.
A planning consultation will take place within the next three months.