Home­less house pe­ti­tion foiled

Accrington Observer - - BACK TO SCHOOL -


CON­TRO­VER­SIAL plans to build a 16-bed­room mul­ti­ple oc­cu­pancy house to help home­less peo­ple have been ap­proved.

Res­i­dents and busi­nesses near 24 Barnes Street in Ac­cring­ton sub­mit­ted an 87-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion to Hyn­d­burn coun­cil claim­ing the scheme could be ‘ detri­men­tal’ to the area.

They also raised con­cerns about the ‘type of peo­ple the de­vel­op­ment would at­tract’ and fears it would lead to an in­crease in crime and drug use.

Plan­ning of­fi­cers said the ap­pli­ca­tion has been al­tered to re­move win­dows over­look­ing prop­er­ties and the build­ing must be sound­proofed and li­censed be­fore it can be used. Lan­cashire Po­lice has also re­quested CCTV be in­stalled on door­ways and im­proved light­ing.

Coun­cil­lors ap­proved the pro­posal by Steven Pick­les at a meet­ing on Septem­ber 13.

Richard Cullen, of Lee Street, said they ‘strongly ob­ject’ to the plans. He told the meet­ing: “We all feel gen­er­ally that the lo­ca­tion is com­pletely in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

“There are five or six busi­nesses that will im­me­di­ately be im­pacted by the de­vel­op­ment such as a dance club, karate school, gym, a garage, shel­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion and lo­cal schools.”

He claimed peo­ple would stop vis­it­ing and buy­ing houses in the area and fears that house prices will be hit.

He also said that chil­dren are reg­u­lar users of the area and that the scheme should be ‘put on hold un­til safe­guard­ing is­sues are ad­dressed’.

Plan­ning agent Steven Hart­ley said the ‘suit­able’ build­ing is ‘un­der­used’ and that it is in the ap­pli­cant’s best in­ter­est to see the scheme ‘run and con­trolled very well’.

He told the meet­ing: “Ap­pli­ca­tions such as th­ese are con­fronta­tional, con­tro­ver­sial and res­i­dents can feel anx­ious and will op­pose them. There’s a ba­sic con­cern about who will be mov­ing into the premises and how it will be man­aged.

“But we know that peo­ple have to live some­where. The ap­pli­cant is not a novice when it comes to prop­erty man­age­ment. He has sev­eral other flats and apart­ments which he lets out and man­ages.”

Seven com­mit­tee mem­bers voted in favour of the ap­pli­ca­tion, with four against and one ab­sten­tion.

Ward coun­cil­lor Joyce Plum­mer said it would have a ‘detri­men­tal ef­fect’ on a ‘de­prived area’.

Coun Ea­monn Hig­gins, plan­ning com­mit­tee chair­man, said: “We have to vote within plan­ning law and reg­u­la­tions.

“If we step out­side those bound­aries then ap­pli­cants ap­peal and we have to pay costs out of tax­pay­ers’ money.”

Coun Plum­mer (sec­ond left) with cam­paign­ers

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