New temporary accommodation

Providing more accommodation for people who need our help

Overview

Wycombe District Council has ambitious plans to provide more accommodation for people who are homeless and who need our help.

We are currently working on plans to increase the amount of temporary accommodation we provide by 65%, taking us from 34 homes to approximately 58. This will help us meet a growing local need and provide a much better living environment for the families that need our help. Building the new accommodation will also bring people closer to the local services they need, including transport facilities, council offices, GP surgeries and schools, as well as other support services.

What we currently provide

The current temporary accommodation is in a remote rural location at Saunderton Lodge, around 6 miles outside High Wycombe, just off the A4010 between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

The building, which is 90 years old, has only 34 units and was not purpose built. Although it continues to provide accommodation, we are aware of its current limitations for the young families who live there.

We have thoroughly explored the options of increasing the number of units and refurbishing what is currently available. However, neither option was considered to be a viable option, given the age, limitations and location of the building.

Proposed new location

The proposed location is a surface car park operated by Wycombe District Council. We are planning to use this land to build new temporary accommodation and to provide more car parking spaces nearby to ensure we continue to meet local needs for parking. More information on this will be available as plans progress.

Read more about the proposed new location.

The changing face of Desborough

The Desborough area of High Wycombe is changing. It already has a vibrant community with independent local traders and, over the next few years, new commercial and residential developments will change the look and feel of this part of town along the alternative route.

New apartments are being built at Centre Square (behind the Eden shopping centre) and in former office accommodation like Buckingham House. There will also be a new Aldi food store, a creative centre and modern apartments in the former furniture warehouses at Leigh Street.

Read more about the Desborough area renewal plan.

Design proposals and visualisations

View visualisations and design proposal details.

Consultation feedback

Our two week consultation on the proposed new temporary accommodation is now closed. We invited you to comment directly at our face to face event, by email, via our website or by writing to the team directly.

We have now reviewed all the comments and feedback we received. You can view this feedback below.

We would like to thank everybody who submitted their views and comments. 

Key themes

Several key themes emerged from this pre-application consultation:

  • Many people did not understand the nature of temporary accommodation or the kind of people who typically spend time living in temporary accommodation.

  • People expressed concerns about the loss of car parking spaces.

  • There are concerns about the possible impact of building on the car park could have on the work of local community groups.

  • There were concerns about vulnerable people living in the Desborough area being victims of anti-social behaviour.

  • Local people asked about alternative sites which could be used.

Temporary accommodation

Some comments were about the nature and needs of people living in temporary accommodation.

  • Temporary accommodation is emergency accommodation for people who, often through no fault of their own, have become homeless.

  • The council is required by law to provide accommodation for people who meet specific criteria because they have become homeless.

  • People live in temporary accommodation for a short time (usually a matter of weeks) while we work to find a more permanent place for them to live.

  • Some people think that temporary accommodation is a hostel or a half way house, but it is neither of these.

  • The vast majority of our temporary accommodation residents are families with young children. Some are on low incomes and have used or are referred to food banks in the area. Many of the people we help with temporary accommodation might need assistance from other agencies.

Car parking

People expressed concerns that there will be a loss of car parking in the Desborough area.

  • The proposed temporary accommodation would mean that 57 surface car park spaces would be taken out of use at Desborough Road car park.

  • We have set out plans to replace these spaces by creating a new car park a short distance away. Subject to planning permission, this new car park will have three more spaces than the current car park.

  • In addition, there will be a further 28 spaces available at Desborough Street car park, which we are bringing back into public use.

Community groups

Some people have expressed concern that taking away the surface car park and building new accommodation on this site would have a detrimental effect on some of the community groups which use the nearby Kings Church.

  • We will replace the lost car parking spaces a very short distance away. While this may be a little less convenient than the current arrangements, we would not expect it to be a primary reason for local community groups to stop doing the outreach work they do to help the wider community. 

  • We feel that there is an important social benefit in bringing people who are living in temporary accommodation closer to local amenities and helping them to be part of a community.  Within High Wycombe town centre and at the nearby Kings Church next door to the proposed site, there is a wide range of activities, support groups and outreach work to help people in need of support at a time of crisis and change in their lives.

Desborough area

People raised concerns about the suitability of the site given the alleged level of anti-social behaviour in the area. There is a perception that we will be bringing ‘vulnerable people’ to the area and as such placing them at risk.

  • The nearby Kings Church currently provides a wide range of outreach operations which offers support to many people, some of whom could be considered to be vulnerable.  This includes providing a night shelter for the homeless, a food bank for those in poverty, parenting classes for single parents and those whose children have special needs.  The people that receive help and support from these services are on the whole, equally or even more vulnerable than the people who would living in the proposed new temporary accommodation.

  • The Desborough area is changing. The temporary accommodation project is one part of the wider regeneration happening in the Desborough area. This includes prestige residential developments being constructed behind the Eden shopping centre and in the former furniture warehouses on Leigh Street.

  • With more people living in this part of town, there will be a real mix of people living and shopping along Desborough Road which is likely to displace anti-social behaviour. We believe that these changes to Desborough are likely to have the effect of driving down anti-social behaviour in this area.

  • Commercial developers are investing in property in Desborough because it is an up and coming area. Homeowners are already choosing to move into the area by signing up to buy property off plan because they want to live here.

  • A total of 696 new homes are currently being built – the proposed temporary accommodation will be less than 10 per cent of these new homes. It will mean that people living in temporary accommodation will be in the middle of a vibrant local community, have access to local shops and support services and be far less isolated than they are now.

Alternative sites

People asked us whether we have looked at other sites before putting this proposal forward.

  • We have a commitment to try to use council owned land first before we consider buying sites on the commercial market. This is to minimise the cost of delivering projects to the council tax payer.
  • We own land around the town at Cressex Island and sites like Bassetsbury Triangle. Sites like these are not in the town centre and are therefore do not meet our criteria to use as temporary accommodation sites. People who are living in our temporary accommodation have said that being less isolated and living in a town centre close to amenities is important.

Resources and further details