A RESIDENTIAL home for alcoholics and the mentally ill could become a hostel for the homeless if plans are given the go ahead next week.
A planning application for the change of use of The Haven residential home, on Marshall Avenue into a homeless hostel has been recommended for approval when it comes before the Eastern Area Planning sub-committee at County Hall, in Beverley next Monday.
This is in spite of objections from nearby residents and businesses who fear the hostel could attract asylum seekers, drug addicts, criminals and sex offenders.
If approved The Haven, which currently accommodates up to 14 residents, will be reduced to a capacity of 10 ensuite bedrooms and one emergency bedroom to provide a private and secure base from which residents can take steps towards securing their own accommodation.
The residential home is privately run but if approved the East Riding of Yorkshire Council will take on ownership of the building while a managing agent and “housing related support provider” will be appointed to run it, employing up to five support staff.
The hostel is likely to have a 9.30pm curfew and residents will be expected to be in their own rooms from 10pm, with support staff finishing at around 10pm or 10.30pm before a night porter takes over as security and door management.
In 1989 an appeal was allowed for the change of use of the premises from a hotel into a home for the mentally ill only, with a second appeal coming in 1997 to grant permission for it to include residents with alcohol addiction.
In a report submitted to the sub-committee on behalf of the applicant, Brian Reynolds, states: “The Council recognises that many people sleeping rough have mental health or addiction issues and that placing them into independent housing with low level support does not meet their needs and keep them off the streets.
“The scheme is designed to provide an opportunity for the individuals to address the issues that led them to becoming rough sleepers and equip them with the necessary skills to move on to independent living following a period of intensive support.”
It added: “The founding premise for the facility is providing accommodation which is non institutional, and respectful of the residents, providing privacy, freedom and flexibility, leading to lower risk of aggression and aggressive behaviour, in a culture of respect.”
The Free Press understands that residents have launched a petition opposing the plans.
To date five letters of objection to the plans have been forwarded to the Council one of which said they once owned a cafe opposite a hostel in Leeds.
“I had nothing but problems, windows getting smashed and getting broke into, fighting on the streets and arguing.”
Others said the plan exposes the community to anti-social behaviour and the facility could pave the way for different groups being housed there.
The report stated: “People can be homeless for many reasons, they may have just left prison, be unable to find accommodation because of drug and alcohol problems or because they are on the sex offenders list, they may be asylum seekers, criminals or many other potentially dangerous persons.
“This means that any of these people could be moving into the hostel and as such raises the fear of crime in an area where there are already many other vulnerable people living.”