Housing

Homeless families given emergency accommodation at Pontins holiday camp

Flintshire County Council have been forced to house people at a Pontins holiday camp after warning of "growing need' for social housing

Homeless families are receiving emergency accommodation in a holiday camp as housing waiting lists continue to soar.

Flintshire County Council have been forced to house people at Pontins’ camp in Prestatyn, north Wales, after warning that the numbers of people waiting for a council house has grown by a third inside 12 months.

The social housing crisis has seen more than 1,600 put their name on the list – a rise of more than 400 people since the end of September last year.

The UK holiday firm were established in 1946 and survived a spell in administration in 2010 (Credit: Ben Birchall/PA)

In a bid to help stem the tide and tackle the “growing need” for housing in the area, the council has opted to put families up in the holiday camp, which first opened its doors in 1947.

Clare Budden, Flintshire County Council chief officer for community and enterprise said: “There are currently just over 1600 people on Flintshire County Council’s waiting list for housing.

“This compares with just over 1200 at the end of September 2016 demonstrating the growing need for social housing in the area.”

The accommodation at Pontins provides larger families and people with specific needs access to their own cooking facilities

The council insist that moving families to the still-operating camp is a short-term arrangement that is in emergency cases only, specifically when a family have suffered a fire or their rented accommodation has failed health and safety inspections.

Mrs Budden added: “The council occasionally uses Pontins at Prestatyn for short stays to accommodate people in need of emergency accommodation say after a fire or where rented accommodation is deemed unsuitable for health and safety.

“The accommodation at Pontins provides larger families and people with specific needs access to their own cooking facilities.”

The move has been met with praise in some quarters, with Shelter Cymru heralding the ‘outside the box’ thinking behind using the facilities.

But the homelessness charity has warned that using Pontins to provide emergency accommodation is indicative of widespread issues with housing.

A Shelter Cymru spokesperson said: “The fact that Flintshire County Council are housing families at the Pontins holiday camp in Prestatyn is an indicator of the desperate situation in terms of housing waiting lists and a lack of suitable accommodation for people facing a housing crisis.

“Shelter Cymru welcome the fact that the council is being innovative and thinking outside the box but this situation shows the extent of the problem not just in Flintshire but across Wales regarding emergency accommodation.

“The only realistic answer to this crisis is to build more affordable homes to meet the needs of those at risk of homelessness.”

The unusual step calls in to focus the need for solutions to housing problems across the UK.

Earlier this month, The Big Issue looked at seven innovative ideas that can change the course of the future of housing.

The feature marks the 70th anniversary of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), which saw the world’s top minds in the fields of housing and architecture descend on Bridgwater in Somerset to map out housing’s future in the 20th century and beyond.

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