Brondesbury Park residents' fury over permission for homeless hostel
PUBLISHED: 16:21 28 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:29 28 August 2015
Campaigners in Brondesbury Park have branded a council decision to open a homeless hostel on their housing estate "perverse" amidst claims the plans were pushed through without listening to residents' concerns.
Planners at Brent Council finally gave the go ahead to plans to turn a vacant block in John Barker Court in Brondesbury Park into a temporary hostel housing 12- 18 homeless families at a meeting on Wednesday.
The council had waved through the plans and started minor works on the building in July but were forced to re-open the consultation after residents complained the work had started without their consent.
The decision also comes after more than 20 residents formed an action group to highlight their concerns about the potential impact of anti-social behaviour and crime on children and vulnerable elderly people living on the estate.
John Warren, Conservative councillor for Brondesbury Park, said: “It’s a perverse and very poor decision and this planning process has been a complete shambles from the start.
“The council has clearly taken no notice of residents’ concerns and it makes you think consultation has been a completely pointless exercise.
“Frankly it’s pathetic they’re offering to put better signage up on the estate; this doesn’t address any of the serious complaints raised.”
Residents were outraged after being given just two weeks to submit their objections before the close of the planning consultation in June this year.
Many voiced frustrations that sheltered accommodation residents had been moved out of the building block last year on the grounds it was not fit for purpose.
Cllr Carol Shaw, Conservative councillor for Brondesbury Park, who has been leading calls for the council to scrap the plans said: “This is a terrible outcome. They have chosen to ignore more than 60 objections as well as the voice of the silent majority in Brondesbury Park.
“It’s totally immoral that elderly residents, many of them vulnerable and blind, were moved out of their homes last year for this. There are also serious health and safety concerns with the building and schools nearby.”
Cllr Warren added: “Unfortunately this is the end of the road for the residents opposed to the hostel.”
Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s lead member for housing and development, said the homeless hostel would be an affordable alternative to housing homeless families in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation.
She added: “We do acknowledge that there were some concerns raised during the consultation and we have taken steps to address these, such as agreeing to include new signage within the site.
“This decision means that we can improve the living standards for these families as well as save the council a significant amount of money.”
The council is expected to carry out refurbishment on the block with a view to moving families into the emergency accommodation as soon as possible.
Developers are due to submit planning permission in the coming months to demolish the building to make way for a sheltered accommodation block catering for the over 50s.