Designs revealed for Harold Hill’s new Family Welcome Centre

Family welcome centre
Artist’s impression of the Family Welcome Centre courtyard (credit: Hawkins\Brown)
Published: Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Havering Council has submitted a planning application for a new Family Welcome Centre, which will provide high-quality emergency accommodation to homeless families in the borough.

The Family Welcome Centre will form the first phase of the Harold Hill Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan.

Havering’s vision for the regeneration of Harold Hill Town Centre received Cabinet approval in spring 2021; it includes the redevelopment of the Farnham & Hilldene Estate, Chippenham Road and the current Abercrombie House hostel.

The proposed centre, designed by architects Hawkins\Brown, will contain 74 rooms in a variety of sizes, with the largest size accommodating up to eight family members.

Designed as a U-shaped building, a landscaped central courtyard will sit at the heart of the centre, creating an attractive and secure space for families – including a play area for children.

Internally, the centre will boast several shared spaces, such as recreational spaces for residents and families, as well as support facilities and private areas.

A Health Centre on the ground and first floors, positioned along Hilldene Avenue, will also deliver accessible health services to the wider local community.

The new Family Welcome Centre will replace the borough’s existing hostels.

This will include Will Perrin Court, which will close as soon as the new Family Welcome Centre is completed.

A working group will be created with local residents from South Hornchurch to agree on options for the future use of the Will Perrin site.

Councillor Joshua Chapman, Cabinet Lead for Housing, said:

“Our new Family Welcome Centre will be the first of its kind in Havering.

"Not only will it serve as a bold first step in our regeneration plans for Harold Hill, but it will help us to expand our support for Havering’s most vulnerable, as set out in our homelessness and rough sleeping strategy.

“The new centre will ensure we are able to look after families that find themselves in dire situations, providing them with a safe, high-quality, and comfortable place to stay while we find them permanent homes.”

"It was important that the health and wellbeing of families was the priority for this centre, which is why we have included plenty of green space and amenities for families.

"We hope that it will set a new standard for this type of accommodation across the UK.”