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Homeless shelter given permission to open all year round

James Harrison

A homeless shelter will be allowed to open all year round after being given the go-ahead by town hall chiefs.

John West House, in Howarth Road, has been given permission to extend services, which are currently only available for six months at a time.

The plans were put to the Royal Borough’s Maidenhead Development Management Panel on Wednesday, May 10.

Temporary planning permission for the centre, which is housed in an empty industrial building, had already been granted in September.

This permitted it to operate for five years, providing accommodation for up to nine people between 7.30pm and 8am, seven days a week, but only from October-March.

It was officially opened in January and named after John ‘Big John’ West, who was often seen outside the Halifax branch in the High Street, and who died in October.

Charity the Brett Foundation, which provides services for homeless and other vulnerable people, had been supposed to run the facility, but pulled out after failing to agree lease terms with the Royal Borough.

A report prepared ahead of the meeting said councillors should consider the impact on character and appearance of the area, the potential impact on current and future neighbours and traffic implications.

Members of the panel voted unanimously to support the scheme, although Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham) questioned why permission for year-round services had not been granted in the first place.

Proposals for three new private meeting rooms to be installed in Maidenhead Library, in St Ives Road, were also given the green light.

According to plans, this will help create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a merged library and customer services centre.

And a scheme to demolish a house in Shoppenhangers Road and replace it with five flats was given the thumbs-up too.

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