A HOMELESS shelter that will be demolished to make way for plush new flats in the city centre is expected to close in late June.

Simon House, in Paradise Street, is owned by A2Dominion and has been a homeless shelter since 1980.

Its services will move to Matilda House, in Cowley, another purpose-built facility owned by A2Dominion, when that opens in the summer.

The proposed new building for Paradise Street has proved unpopular with some groups so far.

In planning documents, Oxford Preservation Trust’s director Debbie Dance says while Simon House has ‘no particular architectural merit’, it does not dominate Castle Street or Paradise Street.

READ MORE: Gibbs Crescent and homeless shelter Simon House to be replaced with new homes

She said the new plan – for potentially 30 new flats – would not improve the way the streets look and would be too big.

All the flats in the replacement Simon House could be sold on the open market, with no affordable housing provision included in it.

That is because A2Dominion wants to include more affordable housing than it would normally need to provide in a new development in Gibbs Crescent, on land it already owns.

It wants to build 140 new flats in Gibbs Crescent, with 85 of those marked as affordable. That would mean 61 per cent of the development would be affordable there.

The city council normally asks that half of all new homes are affordable – and 85 of 170 homes across the two developments would be given that classification.

City council spokesman Dave Lansley said: “Simon House will close after Matilda House in Rymers Lane opens and existing residents move out. This is currently scheduled for late June 2019.

“We expect that most Simon House residents will move into Matilda House though some will have other aspirations and move on options.

“Once residents have moved out Simon House will need to be decommissioned, and we expect that it will close fully in July or August.”

The city council started demolition work at a former homeless shelter a year ago and wants to use it for more housing. But no firm plans have yet been put in place.

Replacing the former Lucy Faithfull House, in Speedwell Street, with between 40 and 55 flats, is likely to cost about £13m. The authority has said half of those new flats will be affordable.

READ MORE: Lucy Faithfull House homeless shelter demolition begins

Mr Lansley added: “We are currently undertaking feasibility work on the Lucy Faithfull House site with the intention of bringing forward a planning application. I can’t give you a timescale at the moment.”

Matilda House has been named after Matilda of Boulogne, the wife of King Stephen.

She founded Temple Cowley for the Knights Templar in 1139, very close to the site of Matilda House. The Knights Templar also has an association with the temperance movement. So Matilda has links to the area and to fighting alcohol addiction.

Pam Vasir, A2Dominion's director of supported housing, said: “Matilda House will be vital in providing support to some of the most vulnerable people in Oxford, and we are delighted to be part of the delivery of this project.”