Plans for homeless shelter opposite East Molesey school sparks mixed response (From This Is Local London)
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Plans for homeless shelter opposite East Molesey school sparks mixed response
A homeless shelter that may open opposite an East Molesey primary school has sparked concern within the community.
Transform Housing and Support submitted plans to Elmbridge Council to convert up to eight ground floor bedrooms at Radnor House, Hansler Grove into homeless accommodation for three months, starting on January 1.
If granted planning permission, the site will be open from 5.30pm until 8am the following morning and will provide shelter and food for up to five homeless people, with an extra three beds available in the coldest weather.
The site, opposite the entrance to the Orchard School, was chosen as it is empty and has the facilities required for providing basic overnight accommodation and a hot meal.
Paragon Community Housing, who own the site, will let part of the ground floor and the rest of the building will be secured and will not be available for use.
A Hansler Grove resident wrote to the council to say he and his neighbours were not aware of any rough sleepers in East Molesey and deemed the plans “inappropriate”.
Molly Cosgrove, 18, who works nearby, said: “I park my car on a road close to Radnor House and when I leave the office at 5.30 at night it is dark, and to be honest I will not feel entirely safe walking to it if these plans go ahead.
“I have nothing against homeless people, I do feel sorry for them and fully understand that they need somewhere to go, however I really do not think that East Molesey is the most appropriate place for them.”
A number of residents and church leaders have written to the council in support of the application.
The Reverend Richard Lloyd, from St Mary’s Church, said: “Many of us are receiving calls at the front door from people at the rate of two or three a week. There certainly seems to be a shortage of accommodation for them.
“As church leaders in Molesey, we fully support this help you are extending to the homeless.”
Andrea Cannon, director of client strategy and delivery at Transform Housing and Support, said: “We are aware that there are strong views within the community, both supporting and opposing the project.
“We have been very encouraged that so many people have already offered to volunteer at the project, preparing meals and offering transport to get clients to and from the property.”
Ms Cannon also said the hours of the shelter were adjusted so they did not coincide with the opening hours of the nearby school and said alcohol, illegal drugs and disruptive behaviour will not be allowed on the premises.
If granted permission, the project will not continue past the end of March 2014 as the site is due to be redeveloped. The application is due to be considered at a meeting of the north area planning subcommittee on December 18.
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