TENDERING for a £2.5 million temporary homeless accommodation scheme in Poole has been started by BCP Council.

Funding and planning permission for the Herbert Avenue project for more than a year and the council has now begun its search for a company to carry out the work.

Work on the former Bourne Valley Community Centre site is expected to start later this year and will provide 24 homes for families at risk of homelessness.

The project, which will be managed through the council’s arms-length organisation Poole Housing Partnership, was first revealed in 2018.

Poole council green lit the development in 2018 in a bid to boost the amount of short-term accommodation available in the town and reduce its reliance on more expensive bed and breakfasts.

A year later the planning application was submitted outlining the details of the scheme which will see 24 flats built across two blocks.

Fears were raised by neighbours of the site, including from the headteacher of the neighbouring St Joseph’s primary school.

He raised concerns about the ability for people living in the new blocks to overlook its grounds.

Despite this, the planning application was cautiously approved by BCP Council’s planning committee last year – at its first-ever remotely-held meeting.

Committee member councillor Stephen Bartlett said the scheme would not have been supported if it was proposing permanent housing, due to the lack of living space and “inadequate” parking arrangements.

But the provision of the temporary homeless housing was welcomed.

“There’s a desperate need for temporary accommodation and we’ve got to find some way of housing people,” he said. “We’ve already seen where temporary housing has progressively filled up to the point where they can’t move on because there’s nowhere for them to go.”

Councillor Kieron Wilson, the council’s then cabinet member for housing, said at the time that this was part of efforts to improve housing provision by using council-owned land.

More than a year after the committee approved the development, the council has now started the tendering process for it.

It is advertising for companies to build out the £2.5 million scheme with a deadline of August 9 for firms to express an interest in taking on the project.

The council is aiming for work to start this November and be completed by April 2023.