Plans to convert a student block into a homeless hostel are in the wrong area with limited support and security, a group of neighbours say.

Coventry council wants to use 72A St Margaret Road to provide temporary accommodation for 16 homeless people aged over 18.

Plans go before Coventry City Council’s planning committee today (October 15) where they are recommended for approval.

Whilst recognising a need for homeless provision, neighbours believe the location is not conducive to a residential street with families and young children.

Coupled with an existing site on the road for 15 homeless individuals – which is run by YMCA – they believe the area could become a target for increased anti-social behaviour.

“This will be one of two supported institutions on the same road. It is the absolute concentration of facilities in a very small area,” Paul Davies, spokesman on behalf of the local Charterhouse Residents’ Association said, who is one of 22 to subject objections.

“Far Gosford Street has real issues in regards to a drug culture and we are concerned about the impact on the neighbourhood, and opening up this institution could feed into those issues.

“In no way shape or form as a neighbourhood do we castigate homeless people. We absolutely know they need a roof over their heads and some of our residents run a homeless shelter for homeless people in St Anne’s Church locally.

“We of all people know the issues involved but we also know if you do this you have got to do it properly. Our opinion is the council hasn’t done their due diligence on it with regards to it being a residential neighbourhood and in regards to security.”

The council has proposed CCTV linked to a 24/7 staffing provision off-site.

Council officers will be present during normal office hours with daily visits from support workers, although there will be no offices within the building.

While West Midlands Police raised “some concerns” over crime, planning officer Dean Leadon said the measures will ensure it is “suitably managed”.

Mr Leadon said: “West Midlands Police have been consulted and have provided comments on the proposal.

“They recognise that there is crime associated with such a use as proposed and they have suggested conditions in respect of security to mitigate against this. I am satisfied that the proposed condition will result in the building being suitably managed.”

But resident Maria Laczna, 77, said: “Managing the site from a removed location is likely to be ill-fated since it would fail to eliminate the risk of residents congregating and mixing with one another outside of the building.

“This kind of project needs to be situated in a more ideal place to support the people using this establishment to give them the best possible outcome in their time of transition.”

Mum-of-five, Katy Wilde, 37, added: “We are a small road home to students, elderly residents, at least 12 families with young children and with three schools in the immediate area.

“I fear an influx of unchecked and possibly dangerous people puts the children of this road at risk.”

Concerns have also been raised over parking with just one parking space provided, although Highways have raised no objection.

The council is in the process of purchasing the property from Coventry University and has said use as a hostel will provide more suitable temporary accommodation and reduce costs.

The bid has received one letter of support and no objections from consultees.





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