Homeless house petition foiled
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