Liverpool City Council planning committee voted unanimously to approve plans to transform a student accommodation site into temporary housing.

The building at 47-55 Smithdown Lane will replace previous temporary housing sites that were forced to close in the pandemic.

The application initially faced backlash due to the impact it would have on the students currently living in the building.

About 60 students had valid tenancy agreements in to live in the building up until 30 June 2021. Currently, approximately 20 remain living in the building.

Ian Humphreys, Deputy Manager of Liverpool Student Homes, said: “Our involvement has been to make sure students know their rights. Work on the building cannot take place until all the occupants have left in June.”

The Whitechapel Centre, a homeless charity in Liverpool, have been working with the council to help people find a route out of homelessness.

Ruth McCaughley, Fundraising Manager for the Whitechapel Centre, said: “We are delighted that Smithdown Court has been given the go-ahead. It will play a key part in the city’s plans to end homelessness and rough sleeping for people in Liverpool.”

There have been multiple attempts to raise money for the city’s homeless population this year.

In the meeting, Councillor Nick Small said: “Liverpool is leading the way on how we support people who have experienced homelessness across the city. We all should be proud of the record the city has got on this.”

Councillor Christine Banks said: “There’s a lot of young people out there, and they need our help, and we need to help them with respect and dignity.”

Feature image credit: Liverpool City Council

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