Abandoned tower block plan to house homeless families in Birmingham

Abandoned tower block plan to house homeless families in Birmingham

A hugely controversial council proposal to convert a tower block into temporary accommodation for homeless families is set to be approved.

Birmingham City Council has more than 2,000 people in interim housing while applications for a permanent home are processed. They include 500 people in bed and breakfasts – nearly 200 of which are having to be put up outside of the city due to a lack of facilities.

As a result the council wants to convert Barry Jackson Tower at Estone Walk in Aston to temporarily house families.

But locals are vehemently against the scheme. The 20-floor block has been blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour in the past and neighbours want the council to stick to its original intention to demolish it.



Barry Jackson Tower at Estone Walk, Aston.

Three petitions totalling nearly 400 signatures have been lodged in objection.

Such has been the pressure on the council that earlier this year an audit report revealed that it was at high risk of not been delivered, whilst costs had also spiralled.

But the application is now set to go before the planning committee on Thursday (August 16) and officers have recommended it be approved.

Up to 544 people could be sheltered in the converted tower.

But the council has declared the temporary residents would not pose a risk to people in the community.

A report states: “Two independent risk assessments are carried out before all admissions and anyone who poses a potential risk to staff, residents or the local community is housed elsewhere.

“No one with a history of mental health, substance abuse, violence, anti-social behaviour, sexual offences, arson etc. that might cause problems is accepted at the centres.

“Residents at the centres are supported by staff and the centres are closely managed including strict rules in alcohol/substance use, visitors and a curfew.

“Measures such as this would be in place to prevent anti-social behaviour within and around the centre and to protect staff.

“Residents who breach these rules can be asked to leave immediately.”

The centre would also be staffed by a manager, 30 officers and manned by security around the clock.

The officer’s report concludes: “The proposed development would make use of a currently vacant residential tower block in a manner that subject to conditions would be acceptable.

“It is acknowledged that the size and nature of some of the accommodation is small, however this has been balanced against the acute need for this temporary accommodation and the shortage of emergency accommodation for homeless families with dependent children.”

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