A former bed and breakfast near Wrexham city centre will remain as a homeless hostel for another 12 months.

Wrexham Council has been using the former Grove House B&B on Chester Road as temporary homeless accommodation since January 2021.

In January this year, planning permission was granted for this to continue for a further 12 months, but this runs out at the end of this month.

This week the council sought to make this permission permanent as the Housing Department presented an application to the authority’s planning committee.

But councillors on the committee voted to only extend permission for a further 12 months amid concerns about the impact on other residents in the area, and the number of police call-outs to the facility.

Speaking in support of the application, Wrexham Council’s housing officer Julie Francis outlined the desperate need for the shelter with more and more people presenting as homeless as the cost of living crisis continues.

The Leader: Grove House. Wrexham. Source - GoogleGrove House. Wrexham. Source - Google (Image: Google)

She said: “We desperately need accommodation in Wrexham as housing need is now at a critical level. From March we have seen unprecedented levels of people presenting as homeless.

“Homelessness is not just a statistic, it’s about real people and their lives and anyone could find themselves homeless at any time, especially in view of the emerging crisis.”

A total of 2,238 people presented as homeless in Wrexham this year, and there are currently more than 4,000 people on the social housing register.

Members heard that regular meetings with local members and residents to address concerns about the impact of Grove House and has made a positive difference.

But ward councillor, Maesydre Cllr Becca Martin (Plaid) said she was disappointed that police statistics provided in relation to the facility did not appear to match up with the level of police contact recorded by nearby residents.

She said residents also felt support for the former guest house being used to house the homeless during Covid had been used to “steamroller” through plans to make it permanent accommodation.

Cllr Martin said: “It’s unfair that these residents are constantly having to report issues to the guest house and effectively police their own neighbourhood.

“Surrounding residents don’t know who is going to be there from one day to the next and as yet have not been offered a guarantee that anyone who potentially poses a danger will be housed at Grove House.”

READ MORE; Former Wrexham guest house could become permanent homeless accommodation

She said it was a ‘wake-up’ call to the council to find permanent housing solutions. In light of the phosphates issue holding up new development, residents were willing to see permission extended for a further 12 months.

Planning officers said they feared only granting further temporary permission would make it difficult to plan for the future, and that if the accommodation was not there it would have to be in another residential area.

Ruabon Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) said she was concerned by some of the police trends recorded, including a spike in the number of arrests within a quarter of a mile of the guest house.

She suggested the 12 month extension as a compromise to continue monitoring the public impact on the area and residents.

This was supported by adjoining ward member, Grosvenor Cllr Marc Jones (Plaid), who also added that the council needed a longer-term plan.

He said: “Let’s not kid ourselves. We can’t build 4,000 homes overnight, but we do need to see a plan because we don’t want to be having to do this.”

Hermitage Cllr Graham Rogers (Lab) said he felt the council would be in the same situation year after year, extending the temporary permission, asking “how long is temporary?”

“If further temporary permission is given we will find ourselves in an identical situation in 12 months time, we’ll be talking about this in years to come”, he said.

“We have got a duty to the homeless but we also have a duty to residents who have resided in that area for many, many years.”

Councillors voted against granting permanent permission, but opted instead to extend temporary permission for a further 12 months.