PLANS from a housing charity in Kendal to continue providing emergency accommodation to address the ‘growing problem’ of homelessness in the area have been given the green light.

Members of South Lakeland local area planning committee for Westmorland and Furness Council approved plans from Manna House to continue the use of a pod at the Stephenson Centre on Ann Street to house one homeless person in emergencies following a one-year trial.

According to a report prepared for the committee, temporary permission for another 18 months was recommended due to the ‘small amount of anti-social behaviour’ and because the site may be subject to increased flooding in the future.

In response to the planning application Cumbria Police stated: “The NPT’s (neighbourhood policing team’s) view is that provided the current management procedures remain in place, the constabulary has no objections or issues regarding this proposal.

“However, in the event of the facility generating calls for service during this temporary period, the NPT may withdraw support.”

Planning documents state the charity identified the need for short-term, overnight accommodation which can be accessed by vulnerable individuals during out-of-hours periods in emergency weather.

Documents add: “The temporary shelter is to provide a safe space and protection from the weather.”

The pod consists of a single bed and a chemical toilet and is lightweight so can be moved easily.

Manna House has been providing support to homeless and vulnerably housed residents in the South Lakeland area since 2002.

The charity state: “Manna House operates in an area that most people, including many local people, do not realise has a hidden and growing problem of homelessness and a more general issue of access to affordable housing for local people.”

“The area experiences problems of rurality with its attendant difficulties of access to services and a general low level of service provision”, planning documents add.

During the trial of the pod, 16 people used the pod and it was in use for 117 nights from February 1 2023 up to November 7. The charity also said there were no incidents concerning the accommodation and its guests during this time period.

Members of South Lakeland local area planning committee approved the use of the pod to provide emergency accommodation on February 15 at Kendal Town Hall.