Council green-lights plan to turn disused Dagenham hospital into temporary accommodation for more than 200 people
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The council has approved plans to turn a disused Dagenham hospital into space for more than 200 homeless people.
Grays Court Community Hospital is set to become temporary accommodation for 71 adults and 133 children at capacity. The plans from the council passed unanimously through the planning committee on December 16.
Apart from an out-of-hours GP's service, the NHS left the site in John Parker Close in May. The GP's is to stay at the site.
A member of the committee did question whether the building had the facilities to house 200 people.
Adam D'Alessandro from the council's development arm Be First said making sure facilities could handle the number of people would be down to managing the building properly. He added getting more temporary accommodation would ensure that Grays Court wasn't over-burdened.
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Cllr Cameron Geddes, lead for regeneration and social housing, told the Post: "We've been looking at [this project] for quite a while.
"There's a lot of people that need temporary accommodation. We want it to be of a good quality and we want it to be in Barking and Dagenham.
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"It can be months, quite some months [in temporary accommodation], so we want it to be as decent as possible [and] we want it to be as local as possible.
"There but for the grace of God, any one of us at some point [could] lose your job, or whatever."
He added the building would've gone through a process, with the council looking at how it could best use it, for example turning it into flats.
"The overall cost-benefit analysis indicated the best thing we could do - as a mixture of finance and service provision - would be the temporary accommodation," Cllr Geddes added.
Commenting on whether turning disused buildings into temporary accommodation is a new strategy for the council, Cllr Geddes said: "I would like to think there would come a stage sooner rather than later when we wouldn't have to expand temporary accommodation.
"We'll keep our eyes open for appropriate sites."
Matthew Westwood, is senior development manager at Be First. He said: "The new Grays Court will be a real community asset which will benefit local people looking for a permanent home."