Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Leader Cllr Bob Atwood has repeated the council’s commitment to working with the Soup Bowl and St Augustine’s Catholic Church as it seeks to find a new home in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Cllr Atwood made the statement at a meeting on Friday 16 March when he, MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark and representatives from local churches and charities met to consider the issue of homelessness in the town following the success of the Tunbridge Wells Winter Shelter pilot project.
During the meeting Cllr Atwood confirmed that the council was willing to let the Soup Bowl continue to use its premises on Crescent Road on a short term basis
Cllr Atwood said: ‘There isn’t an easy solution to the difficult issue of rough sleeping but I felt the meeting was very useful in identifying the direction we need to take. The Winter Shelter project was tremendously successful and has given us a model we can use to shape future provision, drawing together the number of different services like the Soup Bowl that already operate to provide support. We have set up a steering group which will consider if a team can be formed to provide ongoing support for those who are homeless or rough sleepers.
‘At a previous meeting with the Soup Bowl volunteers there was a discussion about whether they could carry on in Crescent Road beyond the period of the current licence while they make alternative arrangements. I was happy to confirm our willingness to permit this provided the volunteers have specific regard to the limitations of the existing property when continuing their operation. We are working with the church and will continue to do so.’
The Soup Bowl is seeking alternative premises because the council has advised them that it would give notice on their licence of the Crescent Road property since it is no longer suitable for use by the Soup Bowl.