Historic religious centre could become homeless accommodation

6-8 St Martins could become homeless accommodation
-Credit: (Image: Google)

A historic religious centre in the heart of Leicester could be turned into homeless accommodation, documents show. An application has been submitted to Leicester City Council’s planning portal seeking permission to turn the Diocese of Leicester building at 6-8 St Martins into apartments.

The Grade II building dates back to the 18th century and has hosted doctors, an educational reformer, a campaigner for woman’s suffrage and both Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council staff over its long history. It is currently owned by the Diocese of Leicester which used it as a religious centre until the start of the year.

Now, the diocese has entered into a rent agreement described as being "far below the market average" with One Roof Leicester with a view to the charity creating a new use for the property. Plans submitted to the council reveal the intention to turn the upper floors of the building into apartments to be used to house some of the city’s homeless.

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Drawings accompanying the application suggest there could be 13 apartments over the three floors of the building. The homes would be intended as a last step between assisted accommodation and fully independent living, the charity said, and there would be a strict criteria for occupants of the building.

Firstly, tenants would have to be single adults who have engaged with the support and aid offered by the charity for at least six months. They must also have no known addictions for at least six months and have proved themselves “to be a good neighbour” with no reports of anti-social behaviour against them.

One Roof Leicester staff would also be relocated from their current offices in Regents Road to St Martins. In addition to using the current office space and meeting rooms in the building, the existing chapel would be reworked as an open plan office.

Communal areas would also be created within the building which would be used as social spaces and for “skill-building workshops” and “support services”. One Roof Leicester said the plan would “address a critical social issue” and “sets a precedent for how heritage structures can play a vital role in modern urban challenges”.

A public consultation on the plan will run until Wednesday, July 3. A target decision date has been set for Friday, July 5.