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Slough Borough Council assists SHOC with hunt for new home

A homeless charity which faces losing its Whitby Road site in April has been offered help by Slough Borough Council.

Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) signed a contract with the council in October last year, agreeing to give back its premises, Serena Hall, in Burlington Road, 18 years into an 80-year lease, in return for £475,000.

The agreement also included a red line around the town centre, where the charity is not

allowed to relocate.

The council says this is due to anti-social behaviour concerns relating to SHOC’s day centre.

The charity moved into a small site in Whitby Road, owned by St Michael’s Church, in November but has been told to move out by Wednesday, April 11 to make way for

redevelopment.

A planning application to

demolish the church hall and to build three pairs of semi-

detached properties and a detached property with parking was submitted on October 18, last year.

The council is yet to make a decision.

On Thursday, January 25, the charity met the council’s head of assets Stephen Gibson, who offered to ask the church for an extension.

He said planning permission may take longer than expected due to the site’s restricted

access and a nearby pylon.

The council has also offered to survey the local area for available properties.

“This is something we have been doing for almost two years now, but we are willing to accept that there may still be properties that we have not identified,” said Steve Hedley, the CEO of SHOC.

“Private rented properties are expensive and we may not be able to afford the rent and Slough Council’s exclusion zone around the town centre severely restricts any properties that may or may not be available.”

At last week’s meeting, the charity asked to use the changing rooms in Upton Court Park. The council said the rooms would go out to tender soon and that SHOC could join the tendering process.

A council spokeswoman denied Mr Hedley’s claims the site has been vacant for years, saying it is used for changing for football matches and as an operations centre and police and security base for big events.

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