A drop-in session at the controversial site of a former school turned into property for the homeless will take place this month.

Gwynedd Council wants Dolgellau residents to attend a drop-in session at Dôl Sadler (formerly Hen Ysgol Glan Wnion) to see the new supported housing development. The event is on Friday, 21 March, from 4pm-6pm and the council say it is “an opportunity for people to visit the brand-new building, meet the Homelessness Service staff and learn more about the council's plans for the day-to-day management of the site”.

Built on the site of the former primary school, the building contains five units for individuals to live independently and offer support to develop skills that will enable them to move into their own tenancies.

“The development also includes an office for on-site staff to ensure ongoing support and assistance for the tenants,” the council explained.

Since April 2023, 885 people have presented as homeless in Gwynedd, with 158 of those from Meirionnydd. Figures like this led to the development of Ysgol Wnion’s into a development to house the homeless, but some local residents objected to the plans. A petition to stop the development was launched but the planning inspectorate supported the council’s appeal following the refusal of the original planning application by the Snowdonia National Park Authority Planning Committee in April 2021.

Councillor Craig ab Iago, Cyngor Gwynedd Housing and Property Cabinet Member, said: "In Gwynedd, both the cost of living and house prices have skyrocketed, especially in rural areas, worsening the housing situation and pushing a large number of Gwynedd residents out of their communities, and in some cases, out of their homes.

“Developments like this in Dolgellau are a significant step forward in the council's commitment to tackling homelessness. It means that more options are now available to house people facing homelessness within or close to their communities in the southern parts of the county.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the council's plans in Dôl Sadler, or the wider plans to tackle homelessness in Gwynedd, to join us for the drop-in session. Your presence, input and inquiries are invaluable as we work together to make a positive difference in our communities.”

Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Dolgellau North councillor and leader of Gwynedd Council, said: “I am extremely proud to welcome this exciting development on the former site of Ysgol Fach. It will be an important resource to support those who need a home in our area. Homelessness is a massive issue that’s on the rise, and our duty and privilege as a council is to provide quality homes for those who do not have this basic need. Having attended the old Ysgol Fach, I think this is a fantastic new use for the site.”

Ensuring no-one is homeless in Gwynedd is a key priority for the council and schemes are underway to develop more supported housing units, provide accommodation for homeless young people, and work with private landlords to ensure access to additional properties.

For more on this event, email [email protected]