Pods to be set up for homeless people in Bristol car park

'Solohaus' units have been set up to accommodate rough sleepers in Bristol Credit: BPTW

Plans for eight temporary accommodation pods for homeless people have been approved despite concerns they are too close to a nursery.

Bristol City Council granted permission for the tiny single-bed units, each with a living and kitchen area and shower, will be installed at Derby Street car park in St George.

A total of 22 of the 45 parking spaces will be lost as the site is reconfigured to make room for the metal-clad “Solohaus” modular buildings, although planning officers assessed there were enough other vehicle bays nearby.

The proposals received 37 objections, with many neighbours concerned about the proximity to St George Preschool and Redfield Lodge care home because of existing antisocial behaviour at the car park.

Officers, who recommended giving the go-ahead, told the meeting that the development would actually improve the area by supplying “natural surveillance” and lighting from the temporary homes, as well as new green space.

The car park is on Derby Street, just behind Church Road in St George Credit: Google

But Green Cllr Lorraine Francis said she is worried about how close the pods are to a nursery and says that the safety of the children needs thinking about.

She said: "I am more concerned about the appropriateness of the placement of it and I don’t want us to overlook the concerns about the nursery by not considering the impact it might have on the children there.”

They said other issues raised by residents, including traffic congestion and adding more homes to an area with high housing density, were deemed to be acceptable.

The units will be used for move-on accommodation for rough sleepers. Because they are well below national living space standards, people can only live there for up to two years.

They will be managed by the Salvation Army, which has worked with the city council and developers Hill Residential on the project.

Cllr Francis added: “That car park is quite heavily used because there is nowhere to park in Church Road.

“I know a lot about supported accommodation, and I am not saying this to be disparaging to anybody, but they can sometimes be challenging to manage and I’m a little bit concerned about the placement of them there.

“So I’m not sure this is all-singing and all-dancing because there are other issues to consider in that small area, which is quite heavily built.

“The type of supported accommodation is supported by the Salvation Army and I’m just concerned about the overall density of the area and then plonking these eight facilities here."

Members voted 7-0 in favour of the pods with one abstention.

Committee chair Green Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend said: “The Salvation Army element of it is quite compelling because the types of vulnerable people who will end up here are currently ending up where they don’t have that support and then that has escalating mental health issues.

“So I feel more reassured about this scheme because of that added support.

“That would be a better, healthier solution than being on the 13th floor of a tower block without that support.

“In the current housing situation, while we would all want to see bigger places for people, this is a much more appropriate setting for people who need temporary accommodation.”

Labour Cllr Chris Jackson said: “It’s brilliant. We should have more sites like this.

“I know how difficult it is working with homeless people – two years is sometimes not enough for them to turn their lives around.”

Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Brown said: “I have reservations about the size but this is superior to other sites I’ve seen.”

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service