Con­tro­ver­sial plan for hos­tel given OK

Haven for home­less by town cen­tre

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ian Bunting

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

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