A former Bexley care home is set to be permanently turned into space for the homeless.

The disused residential home has been used on a temporary basis to house some of Bexley’s homeless since 2015.

But after a unanimous vote in Bexley’s Council’s planning committee, it will now be permanent.

Homeleigh residential care home already houses 34 families and four individuals, with a maximum of 94 people able to be housed at once.

All residents have access to a bathroom and kitchen facilities, as well as on-site catering being provided.

According to data from Statista, Bexley had 88 people reported as being rough sleepers in 2020/21, one of the lowest totals in London.

The care home in Erith opened in 1961 but closed in 2015 after legal changes left it deemed no longer suitable.

Concerns had been raised over the state of the building in the council planning papers.

It notes: “Neighbours have reported that the building is in a poor state of repair, noting that it appears derelict with fences broken etc.

"A site visit to the property notes that whilst the building would benefit from maintenance work, it is not considered harmful to the character of the area of the street scene.

“Longer term aspirations for the site are to undergo more fundamental maintenance work however this can only be carried out when funding allows.”

Two objections were raised by residents, with Cllr John Davey telling the planning committee about issues with anti-social behaviour at the home.

But the planning document notes that there has been improvements after similar complaints in previous years.

The document notes: “It is understood previous antisocial behaviours have been improved at Homeleigh, however it is acknowledged that there is always room for further amendments with regards to management and security.

“The Metropolitan Police Designing Out Crime Officer has recommended planning conditions to be imposed requiring details of further security measures and an Anti-Social Behaviour Management Plan to ensure that there is regular discussion between the Bexley ASB [anti-social behaviour] and community safety units, police, housing and the applicant/management company.”

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