The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing presented a report on the proposed refurbishment and change of use of the predominantly vacant Grays Court Community Hospital site.
The Cabinet Member explained that there was significant demand for emergency temporary accommodation for families in the borough. In response to that demand and to reduce the need to procure more expensive private sector accommodation, it was proposed that Grays Court Community Hospital be refurbished to provide approximately 56 family temporary accommodation units. It was also proposed that support services provided by the Community Solutions Team currently from John Smith House be relocated to the Grays Court site. This would provide a number of benefits to residents, including:
· Training and employment opportunities;
· Support to live healthier lifestyles; and
· Family support, such as play and speech sessions for children, and family counselling.
The Cabinet Member stated that Grays Court Hospital could also act as a community hub, providing access to facilities and services for the wider community such as:
· A Community Food Club;
· Cooking school and meal sharing offer;
· Education and training offer;
· A family learning offer;
· Careers fairs and job clubs; and
· The continuation of the out of hours GP service from this building.
The refurbishment of Grays Court Hospital would allow the temporary accommodation currently provided at Brocklebank Lodge, which was in poor condition, to be decommissioned. Options for the future use of the Brocklebank Lodge site would be developed and taken through the Council’s governance process in due course.
Cabinet Members welcomed the proposals as a means of providing wide-ranging support to families who had been let-down by the Government’s failure to provide adequate family accommodation, as well as providing benefits to the wider community.
Cabinet resolved to:
(i) Approve the refurbishment of Grays Court Community Hospital to provide c. 56 temporary accommodation units and ancillary office space for the relocation of the Community Solutions Team;
(ii) Agree funding up to £3,951,000 within the Capital Programme to finance the refurbishment of Grays Court Hospital, to cover the total development costs to deliver the scheme;
(iii) Delegate authority to the Director of Inclusive Growth, in consultation with the Director of Law and Governance and the Chief Operating Officer, to negotiate terms and agree the contract documents to fully implement and effect the project; and
(iv) Authorise the Director of Law and Governance, or an authorised delegate on her behalf, to execute all the legal agreements, contracts and other documents on behalf of the Council.