THE decision to refuse a controversial planning application to build short-term accommodation for the homeless in Stourport has left Wyre Forest District Council £192,000 out of pocket.

A proposal by the council to build 18 homeless units on the temporary car park in Bridge Street received a staggering 1,325 objections from members of the public and a motion to refuse the plan was carried by six votes to four last month.

Costs associated with the planning committee's decision have now been revealed to the public for the first time in a Cabinet report.

According to the report, the one-off abortive costs associated with the application's refusal totalled £192,000.

Kidderminster Shuttle: A CGI image of the homeless units previously planned for Bridge Street in StourportA CGI image of the homeless units previously planned for Bridge Street in Stourport

This is on top of ongoing homelessness costs in the wake of the committee's decision, which are expected to reach £50,000 this year, plus £100,000 in 2021-22 and another £100,000 in 2022-23.

The Cabinet report goes on to say: "The ongoing costs arise because, based on cross-party support for this proposal in the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in July 2019, the approved Medium Term Financial Strategy included the favourable impact that the Bridge Street project would have had on the homelessness budget.

"The consequence of the Planning Committee’s decision is a worsening of the council’s financial position."

During Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, Conservative Councillor Nathan Desmond described the Bridge Street debacle as "shameful and embarrassing for this administration".

He said: "To march this council to the top of the hill and waste officer time and then for Progressive Alliance members and Cabinet members to row back and cost this authority £192,000 worth of abortive costs and £100,000 on the revenue account a year is nothing short of shambolic."

Council leader, Councillor Graham Ballinger said the refusal was a democratic decision, and added: "It was reached after considerable debate and in fact is disappointing that, Councillor Desmond, you are trying to make it a political issue.

"Without the Conservative members who voted against this proposal, it would not have been thrown out."

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Councillor Ballinger confirmed the Progressive Alliance would not be seeking to overturn the Planning Committee's decision, and deputy leader Councillor Fran Oborski said the council was "already in detailed discussions" about alternative sites to provide homeless provision.

Speaking to The Shuttle, Progressive Alliance Councillor Claire Barnett, who moved the motion to refuse the Bridge Street plan in August, said the planning committee was made aware of the financial consequences of refusing the application, but said it would have been "immoral" to base the decision on any resulting costs to the council.

Cllr Barnett said: "We can't base the outcome of a planning application on potential costs or losses to the applicant, which in this case was Wyre Forest District Council. We have to judge each application independently and on their own merit."