Locals object to proposal for permanent homeless hostel, accuse residents of 'intimidating' behaviour and scaring school children

Residents have complained about a catalogue of antisocial behaviour at a homeless hostel, including mums and children feeling intimidated walking to school.

Sheffield city centre

The Staindrop Lodge in Chapeltown closed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and was leased by Sheffield Council to accommodate homeless people under emergency coronavirus legislation.

The council arrangement ended in June but the Fairhome Group wants the hotel to be converted permanently into 44 bedsits for homeless people.

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But more than 300 residents have objected saying it would be totally unsuitable in a neighbourhood with young families, pensioners and several schools.

A Mortomley Lane resident said: “I witnessed two residents lying in a bus shelter surrounded by cans of beer. We have had empty bottles of alcohol thrown at our car and thrown into the front garden.

“I have been approached for money outside the Tesco petrol station and my husband has witnessed begging in the street outside the Spa most mornings on his way to work.

“We have residents stumbling into the middle of Mortomley Lane almost getting themselves run over by oncoming traffic and very nearly causing a major accident.

“Needles and other drug items are discarded near the pond and worryingly close to a children’s park.

“I have witnessed residents knocking on doors asking for money. All of this is suddenly happening in a family community on a daily basis.”

An Ironstone Crescent neighbour said their family had been shouted and sworn at and intimidated while a Housley Park resident said their children had been harassed for food and cigarettes and there were people selling and taking drugs.

One Thorncliffe View resident said: “Their behaviour is both intimidating and antisocial. I do not wish for my children to see drunks at 8am wandering the streets, however, this has been the case when I have taken my daughter to school.

“They also decided to have a mass brawl in the car park of the hotel as I walked by, shouting obscenities at one another.”

Another Ironstone Crescent resident said: “We always walk our children to and from school and on most occasions we experience them drinking alcohol, whilst others are clearly high on drugs early in the morning. This is causing anxiety for our young children on their way to school.”

And a Coppice Rise resident said: “The hotel is in close proximity to my child’s school and I have on a number of occasions witnessed people clearly under the influence of drugs in the immediate area at the beginning and end of school. This makes me and my child feel unsafe.”

When Sheffield Council ran the hostel it had a 24 hour on-site officer, security and arrangements with local policing teams to respond to any anti-social behaviour.

But the council and South Yorkshire Police are both concerned the new application does not include any plans to offer on-site support services, security or safeguarding measures.

Planning officers are advising councillors to refuse the application at a meeting on Tuesday, July 27.