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Homeless pods for rough sleepers have been removed from Newport city centre

Pods intended as safe spaces for homeless people have been removed from their site in Newport city centre.

Described as an emergency space for rough sleepers, the pods were manufactured by charity group Amazing Grace Spaces and the prototypes originally showcased in Newport in October 2018.

In February, the first pods were then installed at the site of a Newport business.

But now Newport Council has asked the charity to remove the pods until certification is sought to ensure the pods are structurally sound, and until appropriate council-approved alternative sites have been found.

The pods included a bed, toilet, window, light and USB plug to charge phones

The charity claims it took expert advice and used industry standard building materials to comply with safety standards and building insurance cover. The pods are said to have fire-retardant exteriors and interiors and fire safety doors.

A charity spokesman said: “These are the emergency measures AGS designers have put into the pod build and this offers a much safer environment than people living in tents, doorways, car parks or subways.

“We are a small charity, with little finance and are trying to make a difference by working with other agencies to ensure there is a joint effort to end homelessness and help people out of crisis.

“The request for certification is a huge ask for such a small charity and with other projects coming up, is difficult to finance.

“We are in discussions with testing organisations to establish what certification can be done on the pod as there is nothing to compare them with, as nothing like it has been done before.”

A spokesman for Newport Council said: “Newport City Council is committed to supporting any initiative or project that is aimed at tackling homelessness and works with a range of agencies in Newport to assist rough sleepers to secure alternative accommodation.

“Newport City Council has been endeavouring to work with Amazing Grace Spaces to find an appropriate location for the pods as well as ensuring they are structurally sound and safe to use.

“A multi-agency meeting was held earlier in the summer which included Amazing Grace Spaces and all parties agreed the pods should be moved to a site where they can be properly monitored and managed.

“It should be noted that it is the council, or other organisations, that have helped those using the pods into accommodation.

“It has also offered alternative accommodation to the latest occupants of the pods.

“The pods should not be regarded as long-term accommodation but a stepping stone to a more permanent solution.”

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