Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has been granted permission to build new ‘life-changing’ accommodation in Westminster for people who have experienced homelessness.
The ambitious 217 Harrow Road development – which has been designed in partnership with socially responsible developer Stories – was unanimously approved by Westminster City Council Planning Committee last night (20 September).
The design will provide a total of 56 self-contained homes for people who have experienced homelessness and will be built on the site of one of St Mungo’s existing services which is coming to the end of its usable life.
The new facility will be enabled through the delivery of 98 new rental homes for Westminster, a proportion of which will be provided at affordable rent in a new, adjacent residential building.
It is the latest project by St Mungo’s in partnership with Westminster City Council Commissioners and the GLA and reinforces their shared commitment to ending rough sleeping in the borough.
Following a lengthy discussion, all members voted in favour of approving the proposal.
St Mungo’s Interim Chief Executive, Rebecca Sycamore said:
“We are delighted that the plans to redevelop our Harrow Road site have been given the go ahead. This new development will provide vital accommodation for people in Westminster who have experienced homelessness.
“As a leading provider of frontline homelessness services, we know what is needed to ensure our clients get the best chance of recovering from homelessness and 217 Harrow Road has been designed with the benefit of our more than 50 years’ experience working in this sector.
“We are so pleased that Westminster Council have backed this project which really will change the lives of thousands of people for years to come, and are very much looking forward to seeing these exciting plans become a reality.”
The planning application was supported by an in-depth community consultation which saw local people, St Mungo’s clients and staff, as well as other stakeholders feed into the building design.
The development has been designed by Stirling Prize winning architects, AHMM. It features two separate buildings – one which has eight storeys and a second with 20 storeys.
Co-Founder of Stories, James Scott said:
“We’re thrilled to be delivering this innovative project in partnership with St Mungo’s, working closely with Westminster City Council. Our purpose as a development company is to deliver social, economic and environmental outcomes for local people and we’ve worked hard over the last couple of years to find a solution for this challenging site. The involvement of local stakeholders and neighbours has been instrumental in shaping the proposals.”
Associate for AHMM architects, Edwina McKnight said:
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with St Mungo’s and Stories on the design and delivery of a new home for the homeless, combined with mixed tenure apartments, on a single prominent site adjacent to the Westway.
“The proposal brings together two separate buildings around a landscaped central courtyard, activating Harrow Road and Torquay Street at street level. The distinctive stepped profile and brick form is derived from a series of cuts at different scales creating aspect, privacy, amenity and daylight for all residents.”
Westminster has the highest number of people sleeping rough in London. This new facility will enable more than 450 individuals each year to have the time and space to feel safe and work on their recovery.
The existing 1960s building now requires urgent action and, over the last seven years, St Mungo’s and Westminster City Council commissioners have been exploring redevelopment options to continue to provide these critical services.