THE INNOVATOR behind plans to turn a disused community hall in Bordon into homeless accommodation at a cost of almost £800,000 hopes it will be open by the summer.
Simon Poyser of Bentley-based Velocity RDT is working with East Hampshire District Council to convert the council-owned Pinewood Village Hall into ten temporary homes.
He said: "Homelessness is a growing problem that is likely to get worse.
"For a very few people, like travellers for example, having no fixed accommodation is a lifestyle choice.
"But for the majority, it’s circumstance - perhaps they lose their job, can’t pay their mortgage or rent, and become homeless.
"This very often results in health or mental issues.
"Some people can go to their wider families for help, but some can’t, and turn to the council, who provide B&B accommodation at a huge cost, very likely out of the district.
"And in most cases B&B occupants have to leave after breakfast and can’t return until the evening, which is soul destroying and very, very depressing, especially for children if it’s a family relocation.
"So converting the hall will provide single people and families with a secure temporary home.
"They can come and go as needed while they get their lives back on track, get jobs if needed for instance, until a permanent home becomes available for them."
The conversion will see six accommodation ’pods’ in the hall’s main room with a larger adapted pod also inside the hall on Rydal Close.
Each pod will have its own front door, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom and there will be an outside area at the back of the building.
A pair of two-bed pods and one one-bed pod, will also be built in the garden and these will have their own individual garden spaces.
Once the hall has been modernised with hi-tech energy-saving installations, the pods, that come ready made, will be installed. It is thought this is the first time this ’eco-friendly flat pack’ concept has been used in the UK to re-purpose an old unused building.
Simon added: "We are looking to see if this method of converting old buildings has wider uses in this area and elsewhere."
Once open, the hall will be managed by Two Saints homeless charity.