Trimley: Village’s quality of life plea in controversy over immigrant workers’ hostel

TRIMLEY: A community leader today urged officials tackling alleged problems at a controversial immigrant workers’ hostel to ensure village residents’ quality of life is improved.

Parish and district councillor Graham Harding claimed the impact of the alleged activities at the Seven Oaks Hostel, Church Lane, Trimley St Mary, on the village had been overlooked in attempts to control the running of the centre.

“Over the next two years, the licence for Seven Oaks will be reviewed and reconsidered and during that process council officers and police will look at whether the current rules of the licence are strong enough and whether or not they need changing,” he said.

“What we need to make sure is that our own residents, people in the village, are looked after and not forgotten – and that their quality of life is improved and that the hostel does not have an impact on them.

“I think when the licence was drawn up residents were not part of the equation and now they need to be.

“We need a long-term solution which enables everyone to live in harmony.”

The hostel has a licence permitting a limit of 26 people to stay in the 13 ground-floor rooms, and eight in the four first-floor rooms, with the second floor being set aside for one household.

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There has been a series of complaints made to Suffolk Coastal District Council about the hostel, with people in the area concerned about some residents allegedly drinking, fighting, and spitting in the street.

Some of these problems are felt to be due to a “clash of cultures” between the eastern Europeans living at the hostel and Trimley residents.

Mr Harding said police and officials have been working closely with hostel owners Larry Graham and his wife to deal with the issues.

Concern has also been expressed about cars being driven at speed in and out of narrow Church Lane.

Landlord of The Three Mariners, Dave Atkinson, confirmed to The Evening Star that immigrant workers had been barred from the village pub because of their behaviour.

A top-level meeting has now been held involving council chiefs, residents, police and anti-social behaviour officers.

One resident of Church Lane said: “We can have months of very little trouble in the lane at all and then suddenly weeks of minor and annoying things happening, people staggering about drunk in the mornings, cars spinning wheels and roaring off.

“I think it could be that the workers move on, or go back home, and new ones arrive and take time to settle or some don’t behave as well as their predecessors.

“It would be nice not to have to worry about it.”

No-one was available for comment at Seven Oaks.

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