Kingsland Road mega homeless hostel approved by Hackney councillors

An artist's impression of the hostel in Kingsland Road. Picture: Nicholas Taylor and Associates

An artist's impression of the hostel in Kingsland Road. Picture: Nicholas Taylor and Associates - Credit: Nicholas Taylor and Associates

Plans for a new purpose-built, 292-room hostel for homeless families in Haggerston have been given the go-ahead.

Blue Chip Trading Ltd and property developer Hezi Zakai will now get to work on building the hostel, which will be managed by the council and hold over 600 people once it is finished.

It will be fitted with workstations, a launderette, 24-hour security and free wi-fi.

Councillors and residents have spoken out against what the scheme represents, warning that while the building is classed as temporary accommodation, families' stays in the 20-square-metre units are likely to be anything but temporary.

Cllrs Polly Billington and James Peters (Lab, De Beauvoir) said: "The application continues to perpetuate the myth that this housing is temporary, yet we know that's just not true.

"Children go to school from hostels in our ward that they were born in. It makes it difficult to claim we are a child-friendly borough when families will live in such cramped conditions.

"Yes, it may well be better than anything we currently have for families in this position. But it doesn't mean it's good enough. We wish we could build more permanent council homes to relieve this pressure and as a council we do all we can on that front."

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The De Beauvoir reps went on to hit out at the Conservative government for "a toxic mix of austerity, rising private rents, welfare cuts, job insecurity and precarious tenancies tip more and more people into a situation none of us would wish for".

Both councillors said that they "looked forward" to seeing a management plan for the hostel, to ensure the quality of the facilities and that residents were treated with dignity.

Though the rooms are designed for short stays, families regularly find themselves living in similar cramped units for at least two or three years.

There are 3,200 homeless families living in temporary accommodation in Hackney.

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