A TOWN centre hotel will stop being used to house the homeless and protect them from coronavirus by the end of this month.

The Travelodge, on Kendrick Street, has been providing shelter to people in need since April.

The facility, which has temporarily closed as a hotel, has been able to accommodate around 60 people.

It is being staffed by borough council employees, as well as Travelodge and Room at the Inn (RATI) workers.

Town Hall chiefs say the site is due to continue being used to provide shelter until the end of June, with attention now shifting to providing long-term housing thereafter.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “Obviously, we can’t just go back to how things were before.

“What we can’t really have is the Government taking steps like directing councils to get people under cover, then leaving that for councils to fix going forward.

“The question is who is going to fund it and it is difficult to see how councils can do that when we have already spent the money we’ve been allocated.

“We all need to work together to look at what the best solution is for homelessness.”

Council chief executive Steven Broomhead hailed the Travelodge management and RATI team for their ‘excellent’ support.

"Clearly, we need to start to lay plans now for the fact that the Travelodge cannot continue to be used forever and a day, so we are now starting to thinking about how we can move on from the Travelodge," he said.

“Therefore, we’ve got to think about what additional accommodation we can provide for homeless people in the town so they get the quality of support that they deserve.”

Hotel manager Jake Schofield says he and his team feel extremely proud to have been part of the company’s frontline team providing support and accommodation at the site.

He said: “It is such a privilege to play a small part in our country’s history.”

The Government has announced plans to provide thousands of long-term homes for rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic.

It says by accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services in the budget – now extended to £433 million – the funding will ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This Government wants to end rough sleeping for good and we now have a real opportunity to deliver on this moral mission.

“I’m backing this effort with £433 million to fast-track the longer-term and safe accommodation needed to ensure as few rough sleepers as possible return to the streets.”