A HOMELESS centre is one step closer after planning permission was granted.
Stratford District Council has given the green light to The Fred Winter Centre, which will support homeless people into accommodation.
It will be based at the former Fred Winter department store on Guild Street and include 15 affordable housing units, a new hub supporting local homeless people with advice and training, a community cafe, and a new home for the Stratford Foodbank.
The project is a collaboration between Birmingham-based housing association Spring Housing, the district and county councils, and charities and organisations which will provide support services at the centre.
Building work is hoped to begin later this month with the centre opening early next year.
Paul Spooner, chair of the Fred Winter Centre Board – which consists of representatives of organisations supporting the centre – said: “Securing planning permission represents an important milestone. Despite the challenges being faced at the present time our partnership is committed to implementing this design and to delivering the centre.
“We need permanent solutions to end rough sleeping and homelessness and the Fred Winter Centre represents a major step in this direction. The centre will provide, in one setting, affordable and safe homes, on-site health and wellbeing services, and training and work experience to support local people out of homelessness.”
And Spring Housing chief executive Dominic Bradley believes the centre could end homelessness in the town.
He said: “Our gratitude goes out to all the partners who really demonstrated their commitment to the Fred Winter Centre, what’s been equally as impressive is the community support we have had in getting to this stage, the people of Stratford have proven time and time again what an incredible community they are and we know the Fred Winter Centre has amazing potential to help end the cycle of people experiencing homelessness, through housing, support and employment.”