FEARS have been raised over the future of a homeless shelter amid plans to create new emergency bedrooms at James Lee House.

Warrington Borough Council’s development management committee had been expected to approve plans for the Brick Street homeless hostel’s chapel and meeting room to be converted into eight new overnight rooms during a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, November 29.

But staff from Room at the Inn spoke in order to object to the plans during the meeting, raising concerns that the council is planning on replacing the homeless shelter on Winmarleigh Street with the new bedrooms.

The 10-bed shelter fears its £3,000-a-month grant will be cut if the proposals go ahead.

Management committee member Karen Blenkinsop said: “We’re concerned about this application on several counts due to the lack of communication about the proposed emergency shelter from the partners involved.

“Whilst we welcome additional facilities for the homeless community in Warrington, we’re unsure how this proposed development is going to fit into the current provision.

“We’re not at all sure that it is an additional facility.

“We are unsure if the emergency accommodation is meant as a much-needed upgrade to services and would compliment our shelter or if the development is meant to replace us.

“Distressingly, we have been unofficially told that this will replace the £3,000-a-month grant that we currently get to support our service.”

Worries were also expressed about shower and kitchen facilities at James Lee House, which currently has 54 rooms.

The development management committee decided to defer a decision on the application for James Lee House in order to seek further information.

Committee chairman Cllr Tony McCarthy said: “I’m taken aback a little bit because when I first saw this application I assumed that, although it was very basic and there were problems with it, we thought this was an additional facility.

“Now we’re being told this could very well replace a far better facility that we’ve already got.

“I’m mindful to defer this application because I think there is information missing that we weren’t aware of previously.”