Controversial plan for hostel given OK
Haven for homeless by town centre
Divisive plans to build a hostel on the outskirts of Coatbridge town centre have been unanimously approved by North Lanarkshire Council.
The proposals for the three-storey “supported accommodation” facility on Bank Street were passed last week.
No counter-proposals were put forward and Clyde Valley Housing Association now has the green light to undertake work towards the “partial demolition of the existing building, retention of the existing traditional facade and erection of a hostel building comprising nine bedrooms and ancillary accommodation”.
As reported in last week’s Advertiser, 42 letters of objection against the project were submitted ahead of the meeting, with concerns raised including criminals, drug users and sex offenders potentially being housed at the hostel; the site’s close proximity to St Augustine’s Primary School, the Time Capsule and Summerlee Museum; and anti-social behaviour and its impact on house prices in the area. It was suggested the site should be converted into affordable social housing instead.
Council leader Jim Logue has welcomed the role the supported accommodation will play in “the regeneration of the town centre” and the group who will run the service at the facility, Simon Community Scotland, have moved to reassure any local residents’ concerns.
A spokesperson for the group, which works to “combat the causes and effects of homelessness”, said: “We believe everyone should have a safe place to live and access to the support they need.
“Simon Community Scotland will be operating Bank Street’s service on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council.
“Sex offenders will not be accommodated in this property. It is also less likely that there will be anti-social behaviour in the area as the supportive measures and procedures we put in place will support us and the local community to resolve issues in a speedy fashion.
“We are proud to say that of the four other accommodation services we operate in North Lanarkshire, we have not had a single complaint from the neighbourhood.”
Councillor Logue added: “The new development will go a long way to addressing the shortage of supported accommodation in Coatbridge and help vulnerable people to continue to live within their community with appropriate support.
“It will also play a part in the regeneration of the town centre.”
The Advertiser’s Facebook readers response to the news indicates there are still concerns over the facility.
Clare Hanlon Aitken said: “Absolutely shocking considering this is beside schools and a public leisure centre!”
Gavin Campbell added: “Wait until all the problems start and then you will regret not stopping this.”
Vicki Rodgers called the decision an “absolute disgrace” and Nadia Laughran commented: “I’m all for helping the homeless and less fortunate, however, just because it’s staffed 24 hours a day doesn’t mean that controls the behaviour of said people outside the premises!”
But others welcomed the development, with Elaine Johnstone saying: “Not all homeless people are addicts or criminals... folk seem to forget that part. This derelict building is an eyesore and it’s about time something of good use was made of it.”
Morag Fraser agreed: “Great, anything’s better than the eyesore that’s there now.”
Mark Boyd added: “Brilliant news. Well done to Clyde Valley for doing their bit to help those in need.”
Louise Herron posted: “As someone who works in homelessness I think that it’s a good thing.”
Responding to concerns over the plans ahead of last week’s decisive meeting, Clyde Valley Housing Association stated: “Each application must be considered on its merits and the accommodation will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by appropriately trained staff who are particularly experienced and qualified in this field.”
This will help vulnerable people continue to live within their own community Jim Logue
Green light The supported accommodation facility will be based on Bank Street