Plans to convert a disused hospital building into emergency temporary housing for local homeless families were given the go-ahead on Monday night at Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee.

The proposal to refurbish the former Grays Court hospital in Dagenham includes 62 temporary accommodation rooms, a new community space and a GP out of hours service.

Cllr Cameron Geddes, cabinet member for regeneration and social housing, said: “The refurbished Grays Court will provide comfortable living spaces to local homeless families who may otherwise have been sofa surfing or living in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation.

“And there will be the continuation of the out of hours GP service for local people and a new community space too.

“Grays Court will give us the opportunity to accommodate homeless households in a supported environment instead of expensive, and often unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation or have to be moved out of the borough.”

The new 62 room centre will be managed by the council’s hostels service.

The community space will provide space for:

  • a community food club and cooking school
  • family learning opportunities
  • education and training facilities
  • careers fairs and job clubs

The development will be led by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company.

Matthew Westwood, Senior Development Manager at Be First, said: “The new Grays Court will be a real community asset which will benefit local people looking for a permanent home and those who want to grab new opportunities and learn new skills.”