Temporary Accommodation: Homeless Pods
What’s happening on site now?
We are carrying out the final touches to the site to ensure that they are ready for the first occupants.
When will residents start moving in?
We are looking to allocate the pods in late June / early July.
Who is going to be living in the pods?
The pods will be allocated in accordance with homelessness legislation. For more information on homeless legislation please see: Shelter Cymru. The pods will be allocated to those with low-level support needs. The level of the individual’s needs will be assessed off site and those with a higher level of support needs will be accommodated on sites where this level of support will be available.
Who will be responsible for the day to day running of the pods?
We are currently working with support agencies on this now the pods are nearing completion.
What support will the residents be receiving?
- Tailored support dependant on individual need.
- On site support staff.
- Support from the Housing Prevention and Advice Team.
- Food parcels / starter kits.
Who can I contact if I have any queries or concerns about the pods?
We have a single point of contact, which is the Housing Customer Liaison Team. Please contact the team with any queries or concerns via housingCLO@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or call 01437 764551.
What security will the site have?
There will be staff on site to support residents once the pods are occupied. There is also CCTV on site 24/7 which will be monitored.
How long will the pods be on the Hubberston site?
The pods can be temporarily located at the Hubberston site under planning permitted development allowance for a period of 12 months. As we are coming to the end of this initial period, we will be looking to explore obtaining further planning permission. However, it remains our long-term intention to build additional social housing on this site.
What funding was used to purchase these pods and develop the Hubberston site for their use?
Grant funding from Welsh Government was made available during COVID to provide additional units of accommodation. We have utilised this grant for the purchase of the units.
Will there be parking on site for residents?
There will be 10 spaces marked out on site, 8 for residents and 2 for staff.
Is anything being done in relation to the problems with parking on Observatory Avenue?
This is something that is being looked at. This is ongoing and the solution has not yet been reached.
What will be in each pod?
One pod is made up of two container units joined together. One side has the kitchen and living area and the other side has a bedroom and separate bathroom.
The living area has a 2 seater sofa, small breakfast bar and chairs and a TV and TV stand. The kitchen has a cooker/hob, microwave, kettle and fridge freezer, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans.
The bathroom contains a shower, toilet and wash hand basin. The bedroom has a bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers.
Please see our Housing Facebook page for a video tour of the pods.
What is the need for the homeless pods and why has there been an increase in homeless customers in Pembrokeshire?
Following the start of the pandemic, the Welsh Government have enforced that Local Authorities must house anyone who presents as homeless. Previously those presenting had to first be assessed and then a decision would be made as to whether they were offered temporary accommodation. The number of those needing temporary accommodation has therefore increased massively. The Welsh Government expectation is that Local Authorities continue to house all those presenting as homeless is expected to continue, with direction given by Welsh Ministers that there will be no return to the pre-pandemic approach to preventing homelessness. Therefore the pressure to source temporary accommodation is expected to continue.
Why were the community not consulted?
We are currently in the midst of a housing crisis. Following the changes in legislation from Welsh Government, the large increase of homeless presentations is putting an immense pressure onto our housing stock and temporary accommodation options. B&B’s have heavily been relied upon during the pandemic but options are very limited. It is expected for local authorities to create temporary accommodation solutions and we needed to act quickly in order to secure Welsh Government funding. The Pods were used as a temporary solution as they met the condition of Welsh Government funding, that the accommodation had to be something that was already constructed prior to being delivered on site. The pods also provide potential for use on other sites in future. The Hubberston location was chosen for the pods as this site was vacant and had a large area of flat ground.
There were concerns about a lack of privacy for houses backing onto the site. What did PCC do about it?
A six foot perimeter fence was erected around the site in order to maintain privacy of local residents and residents of the pods.
What is the legal distance a building should be from other boundaries?
There is no legal distance a building must be from the boundary of the site it is located on, and each development is looked at individually. The factors that are normally taken into account include the height of the new building, how close existing buildings are to the boundary and whether there is an impact on the natural light those existing buildings will receive. The pods are single storey, roughly 4 meters from the existing boundary and there is quite a distance from the boundary to the neighbouring buildings.
Was the demolition of the old school on the site safe in regards to releasing airborne asbestos?
Yes, the Local Authority have a legal obligation to remove all known asbestos before demolishing a building. The Local Authority held a management survey on the building and prior to it being demolished, a demolition survey was undertaken. Specialist surveyors identified all areas that asbestos was present and a soft strip took place with all asbestos removed and disposed of in a licenced facility. This was undertaken by the in house asbestos team, following the in house procedure and all work was done under permits. The building was cleared and air clearance certificates were awarded before the demolition took place.
PCC said there were only going to be eight units at the site so why are there more than this?
Each pod is made up of two units as Welsh Government specified that we needed to provide a separate living/kitchen area to the bedroom space.
Why do the pods not look like the picture in the original press release?
Our pods are single storey, as opposed to the two storeys shown in the picture, in order to make the pods accessible to all.
What involvement has the community had so far?
- A joint project between Milford Haven Comprehensive School, PCC and National Theatre Wales.
- An online community meeting in September 2021 to ask any questions or voice any concerns.
- Community Open Day in May 2022
- Access to updates via the PCC Housing Facebook page
What is the joint project between Milford Haven Comprehensive, PCC and National Theatre Wales?
National Theatre Wales approached PCC’s Housing department regarding a project they were working on with 17 pupils from Milford Haven Comprehensive. The topic of the project was homelessness so when they saw that PCC were installing pods for homeless customers on the Hubberston site, the young people were very keen to do something to make the site welcoming for them and to provide them with something useful. It was agreed that a colourful, artistic mural would make the site look welcoming and a cook book for each pod would give them a homely feel and help give them ideas for healthy meals on a budget.
They worked with an artist to create the mural and a chef to create recipes for the cook book. The cook book features a series of recipes that will cost about £20 per week which we will also be sharing with all of our other tenants.
We will be doing a handover when the pods are open and we cannot wait to see the finished mural and cookbooks the young people have worked hard to produce for our pod residents.
We received concerns from members of the public about using this type of accommodation to house the homeless, therefore we were keen to get some feedback from our homeless customers to get their thoughts/perceptions of living in one of our self-contained units. This is what they said:
‘I think they are an excellent idea. The cladding will make them look more appealing and homely.’
‘I think they look really nice inside! And fine from the front with the windows - whilst not as aesthetically pleasing as a house, the nature of what a pod is means that looking a bit prefab is unavoidable. If they want to make them look more welcoming, maybe nice colourful curtains would help.’
‘They are looking great so far. I feel they need some privacy- like fencing. A communal area and some landscaping would be great.’
‘More privacy, I notice the surrounding buildings can see into the field quiet easily, would be worth to get fencing to protect the privacy of the residents at the containers.’
‘I think the council should continue engaging with the local community and keep them informed about what’s happening in the Pods. There is a stigma around temporary accommodation, clearly shown by the negative press around them, and I think this is a perfect opportunity to open up a dialogue with all communities across Pembrokeshire and tackle this.’
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