AN action group has been formed to fight plans to build short-term accommodation for the homeless on a car park in Stourport town centre.

Disgruntled local residents and business owners have launched the Save Stourport's Heritage (SSH) task group to raise awareness and funds to fight against Wyre Forest District Council's plans for an 18-bed facility in Bridge Street.

The group has already submitted a 1,800-signature petition against the application, handed out 1,000 leaflets and raised over £1,500 to hire their own planning consultant.

Evesham Journal: Wyre Forest District Council wants to build an 18-bed short-term homeless accommodation facility on the site in Bridge StreetWyre Forest District Council wants to build an 18-bed short-term homeless accommodation facility on the site in Bridge Street

Group founder Dave Bishop said: "I took the initiative to start it up purely because of how disgusted people are that Wyre Forest District Council wants to put this plan through.

"We have nearly 2,000 members on our Facebook page and there have been more than 700 objections, which I believe is a record for any planning application submitted in Wyre Forest.

"The issue is not about the people that would use this facility - we understand that homeless people need somewhere to live - it's about where the council is planning to put it.

"They're planning to place very vulnerable people within 150 yards of three arcades, two pubs and a cheap off licence - not to mention the impact it will have on Stourport's tourism. It just hasn't been thought through.

Evesham Journal: An artist's impression of what the homeless facility would look likeAn artist's impression of what the homeless facility would look like

"This really could be the death of this town. We want this plan to be withdrawn."

The SSH group also plans to look at ways to entice other developers to submit proposals for the site.

Local resident Tony Gavin said: "When Lloyds Garage was threatened with a compulsory purchase order and the owner had to sell, most people in Stourport were appalled, but we put up with it because we were told we were going to get this regeneration project to open up the basins.

"Stourport is an amazing place and this planning application shows the council either doesn't recognise that or isn't concerned about the impact it will have on this town."

Wyre Forest District Council said it has spent more than £100,000 over the years to clear the land and attempt to find a developer to bring forward its 2005 regeneration plans for the basins.

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According to information on the council's website, those using the facility would be local people who find themselves homeless, domestic violence victims needing emergency accommodation, or children leaving care.

Councillor Fran Oborski, Wyre Forest District Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, planning and capital investments, said: “The consultation period runs until Monday, July 20, 2020. People can view or comment on the Bridge Street, Stourport application using our online planning portal. Any comments sent through the portal or petitions submitted to the council will be considered by our Planning Committee in August.

“For more information on our plans to develop the temporary car park site into much needed short-term residential accommodation, please visit wyreforestdc.gov.uk/bridgestreet.”