WISBECH:Former hotel to become centre for homeless- and it may host weddings too!

PUBLISHED: 11:18 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 June 2010

TWENTY four homeless people could soon be moving into the former Queens Hotel, Wisbech, following a £1.85 million modernisation programme. Fenland District Council will support the conversion of the Grade II listed building on South Brink into a centre th

TWENTY four homeless people could soon be moving into the former Queens Hotel, Wisbech, following a £1.85 million modernisation programme.

Fenland District Council will support the conversion of the Grade II listed building on South Brink into a centre that will also include a café, a corporate events venue and may even be licensed for weddings.

Cabinet members are expecting to give the project the green light next Thursday following officers' advice that an alternative of building a new £4.8 million centre in Coalwharf Road was less attractive.

Sarah Gove, housing service development manager, says the Government has given £700,000 towards the project through its Places of Change programme.

Councillors will be asked to commit £200,000 from its social housing contingency budget to help with the purchase and conversion costs.

Luminus Housing Group has acquired the former hotel and extra funding will come from the Ferry Project- the town's existing homeless project- and other funders are expected to contribute money towards the scheme.

Ms Gove says the new homeless centre will also include an assessment centre for vulnerable people and be used for community use for skills development.

"The outcome will be a vibrant hub contributing towards the council's key corporate priorities", she says in a report to Cabinet.

If agreement is reached the centre could open within six to nine months and English Heritage would be called into consult on the modifications needed.

Most recently the former hotel has been used as a school for children with behavioural difficulties from London but since closing last year the council fears it could easily fall into disrepair.

Ms Gove added: "Levels of homelessness have increased, particularly as a consequence of the economic downturn."

Homeless people moving into the Queens will sign a tenancy agreement "clearly outlining their roles and details of what services and support they can expect to receive".


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