PROPOSALS have been submitted to build 24 flats for homeless people at a former community centre site in Poole.

Poole Housing Partnership, an organisation established to maintain the then Borough of Poole's public housing stock, has lodged the plans with BCP Council.

If agreed the scheme will provide temporary accommodation for homeless people until permanent housing can be found.

Earlier this week the Echo reported that the latest rough sleeper count in Bournemouth had shown numbers had doubled since last year.

Nationally it is widely acknowledged Britain is in the grip of a deepening homeless crisis, with figures from Shelter reporting at least 320,000 people are homeless across the county.

The 24 flats are proposed for the former Bourne Valley Community Centre site, off Herbert Avenue.

A report from Arcus Consulting, issued on behalf of PHP as part of the official planning submission, said: "The project at Herbert Avenue will provide suitable, temporary accommodation for homeless people until permanent accommodation can be found and in doing so reduce the local authority's yearly spend on providing bed and breakfast accommodation.

"The development will also ensure that ten per cent of the units are adapted for wheelchair use; the design enables future change of unit sizes."

Current plans are for a range of one, two and three bedroom flats, with self-contained bathrooms, kitchens and living facilities.

There will also be a communal laundry, storage areas , external landscaping and parking on the 0.3-hectare site.

Meanwhile, official figures show 58 rough sleepers in Bournemouth, double last year's figure of 29. Campaigners believe some of these people who appear to be homeless do have homes to return to.

Cllr Kieron Wilson, BCP Council's cabinet member for housing, said: "Additional funding received earlier this year has been well utilised to house a large number of people across the BCP Council's conurbation – without which, the number of rough sleepers and those homeless in a wider sense would be considerably higher."

Summing up the PHP homeless flats plan, Arcus Consulting said: "In producing the proposals submitted within this application we have undertaken full analysis of the site, its locale and also the need to produce a design that, in its scale and materiality, clearly respond to its immediate context providing a design that is 'in-keeping' with the local character.

"The proposals therefore create a sustainable development providing much needed temporary housing in the Poole area."