THE COUNCIL has set in motion plans to re-open a residential block big enough to house the town’s entire population of rough sleepers.

In a motion submitted to Slough Borough Council’s full council meeting on Tuesday, January 30, Cllr Dexter Smith (Con), argued that a now-disused building, The Foyer, located on 50 and 52 Stoke Road, could be re-opened to provide much-needed accommodation for the homeless and vulnerable.

Cllr Smith said: “With a different management and remit, I am sure we could fill all 64 rooms there at The Foyer - Slough’s winter rough-sleepers are rising to between 50 and 60 men and women.

“With the right management, these needy people, plus some of our vulnerable care leavers, and maybe even some clients from neighbouring authorities, could fill The Foyer to capacity.

“The rest of the site...and the combined carpark of the two, could be redeveloped to include some halfway-house type accommodation for vulnerable single people preparing for independent living.”

The leader of the council, Cllr James Swindlehurst, supported Cllr Smith’s motion but warned difficulties could lie ahead, as the building is the property of L and Q housing association, and much negotiation would be needed to re-open it.

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “The building is owned by L and Q, and doesn’t meet current standards in regards to bedroom and bathroom size, so its more complex than than people just moving back in.”

Speaking outside the meeting, Cllr Swindlehurst said: “The building is formerly supported housing – L and Q closed it about two years ago, as it wasn’t compliant with current standards. It remains empty. It’s their site, so they can choose what to do with it.

“We’re working to try to do a supported housing offer and temporary accommodation - that was what they used to do. We want to get it back into circulation again."