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Backlash at plans to transform former care home into homeless accommodation

PUBLISHED: 08:40 12 July 2018

The former care home in Sidegate Lane, which is being eyed to become temporary accomoddation for homeless people Picture: JASON NOBLE

The former care home in Sidegate Lane, which is being eyed to become temporary accomoddation for homeless people Picture: JASON NOBLE

Archant

Fears have been raised at a vision to turn an empty former care home into temporary accommodation for homeless people - with a backlash from neighbours worried it is too close to vulnerable youngsters.

The Sidegate Lane care home site and its proximity to Northgate High School Picture: GOOGLE MAPS The Sidegate Lane care home site and its proximity to Northgate High School Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Ipswich Borough Council has submitted a planning application to turn the care home at 214 Sidegate Lane, which closed two years ago, into a temporary accommodation hostel for homeless people.

But scores of people in the area have raised concerns that it is not appropriate, because it is around 300 metres from Northgate High School and just 160m from a playground.

Two petitions from residents gained more than 160 signatures, with dozens of objections to the plans having been submitted on the council’s planning page during the consultation period.

A spokesman from the group said: “The main concern is where it is. The footpath and the schools are right near there, it’s the lack of information and the amenities.

“It’s not that I feel like a NIMBY, it’s just not the right place for it.”

She added: “It makes people anxious and they want to feel safe in the area.

“People who are homeless need rehousing, but in smaller pockets nearer the amenities.”

The group highlighted concerns that the application did not contain enough information as to what would be in place to support people, as well as recent low-level anti-social behaviour in the area.

Other concerns were raised that youngsters at the nearby schools could be vulnerable to connected activity such as potential drug or alcohol abuse from those coming in to the area, and the accommodation could be inhabited by people recently out of prison.

Suffolk police did not object to the proposals in its comments, but did acknowledge that the “risk of violence and the vulnerability of those using these premises may be higher than usual”.

A council spokesman said: “We have received a number of comments from residents and organisations about the proposals to turn a disused care home into temporary accommodation and all will be taken fully into account.

“The planning and development committee meeting sits at 9.30am on July 25 and members of the public are welcome to attend.

“The officer report will be available to view on the council’s website from July 17.”

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