Hundreds object to village hostel plan for homeless

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A CONTROVERSIAL bid to turn a vacant former brassworks 
into a hostel for homeless people in a Yorkshire village is being recommended for approval despite hundreds of objections.

Registered charity The Ashley Foundation wants planning permission to convert The Old Brassworks, Maude Street, West Vale, near Halifax, into a 32-bed hostel to provide accommodation, food and support services for homeless and vulnerable adults from across Calderdale.

Calderdale Council has received 788 letters of objection to the proposal and two in favour but members of its planning committee will tomorrow be recommended to give the scheme the go ahead.

People on the Sex Offenders’ Register or Category A offenders will not be allowed to stay at the hostel but residents will range from those experiencing relationship breakdowns, debt problems or mental health issues, to alcohol and drug abuse problems.

Critics, who include local councillors and MP Craig Whittaker, say they fear local residents and their children will be at risk from discarded needles and are concerned about the schemes’s close proximity to West Vale School.

There are claims there will be an increase in crime and that the hostel would “destroy the local friendly character of West Vale and its social fabric, as well as that of the surrounding areas of Holywell Green and Greetland”.

There are concerns about parking, traffic, noise, the impact on residents’ privacy and the local NHS services.

But supporters of the scheme claim it would provide jobs for the local community and enhance the site which is derelict.

They say the hostel will “improve the life chances of people, will contribute to a reduction in the antisocial behaviour seen in Calderdale and will help to reduce crime associated with homelessness and substance abuse”.

Calderdale Council’s homelessness services manager is backing the scheme.

In 2012-13, 39 people approached the council because they were sleeping rough and needed help with finding accommodation, 452 approached it because they were staying with friends or relatives and in March there were 611 people on the council’s housing register who classed their housing situation as “no fixed address”.