Plans for two ‘pods’ to house homeless people in the grounds of a Caerphilly church have been given the go-ahead.
Amazing Grace Spaces, a volunteering project that provides accommodation and emergency shelters for those in need, will provide the service in the grounds of St Helens Roman Catholic Church.
The planning application for a change of use was lodged by the Caerphilly borough churches night shelter last year.
Its approval allows the temporary sitting of two homeless pods for up to five years.
The council received one objection from a neighbour, who raised concerns over security.
The officer’s report response says: “The pods are to be used by people affected by homelessness that have been referred by the housing department.
“The pods may also be used for emergency accommodation for those in need.
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“Therefore, the users of the pods would be known to the organisers of the night shelter.
“It is considered that the third party comments relate to personal fears from past experience which has resulted in stereotyping the potential occupants of the pods.”
If available, the pods could be used as emergency accommodation for the homeless who may turn up at the parish door requiring assistance. They would be secured by an electronic door lock.
Each pod would consist of a single bed, cassette toilet unit and a double-glazed window. Electricity to each unit is via a shared solar panel, providing lighting and a phone charger facility.
The pods were trialled in Newport last year over a period of 13 weeks. A leaflet for the project says that during this time six people were rescued from a life on the streets.
Morgan Jones ward councillor Shayne Cook said: “We continue to support efforts to reduce homelessness across Caerphilly Borough. We made the case in support of this application to officers in the planning department, so we’re pleased with the outcome.”
Cllr Jamie Pritchard, who also represents the Morgan Jones ward, said: “Homelessness has risen rapidly across the UK In recent years. Councils have an important role to play to find suitable accommodation for homeless residents to transition into. The building of new council and affordable homes will be a more long-lasting solution.”