Cabinet members agree ‘circuit-breaker’ solution to assist with Torbay’s housing crisis

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(Last Updated On: September 2, 2021)

Members of Torbay Council have agreed to an interim solution to assist with the ongoing housing shortage being faced by Torbay residents and keyworkers, at last night’s Cabinet meeting.

The Council have been approached by the OYO Richmond Hotel on Croft Road in Torquay, to provide a combination of temporary family accommodation and keyworker accommodation for a 6-month period, to act as a circuit-breaker to the current accommodation shortage, until alternative solutions are found.

The number of families and individuals who are homeless and in need of temporary and permanent accommodation in Torbay is extremely high with housing officers currently assisting over 125 households of which a third of those are families with children. In addition, there are over 1440 households awaiting affordable and social housing in also in the area.

Torbay is just one of many areas in England currently facing a housing shortage and has the lowest social housing stock in the country. This combined with increases in property prices, a buoyant tourist season and many rental properties either being sold or converted into holiday accommodation, as well as rent increases and up to 50 applications for every rental property that comes onto the market, Torbay is experiencing a housing crisis.

Keyworkers including social workers and other vital healthcare professionals who are coming into the area to assist with emergency support services, are also experiencing difficulties finding adequate accommodation.

The OYO Richmond Hotel consists of 47 rooms and will be used to provide a blended mix of family accommodation (32 rooms) and keyworker accommodation (15 rooms).

Cllr Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council said; “Torbay is in an extremely challenging situation in terms of its housing, with all sections of society experiencing it difficulties in finding a home. Many families in temporary accommodation are having to be either moved every couple of days or even worse, being uprooted and moved into temporary accommodation outside of the area as far away as London and Bath. This temporary solution with Richmond Hotel will help us protect the mental health and wellbeing of our families, whilst providing some stability and continuity in terms of education and employment. It will also enable our Housing team more time to secure longer term accommodation across Torbay, whilst providing a safe and secure place for our families in the interim.”

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture said; “It is vital that we continue to work together with our partners to address the increasing demand for temporary and permanent accommodation in the Bay. The council is working on a number of initiatives, but we must do all that we can to ease the pressure in the short term.”

A management plan has also been proposed for the hotel which will include; hotel staff on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; council staff on site daily to provide support and to work with the families to find suitable move-on accommodation; a dedicated point of contact for residents and business, and daily meetings between hotel management and the council.

It is intended the first families and keyworkers will move in from 14 September 2021.

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