COUNCILLORS gave the green light for a controversial hostel in Blackburn to continue despite a warning neighbours were ‘living in fear’ of some of its residents.
Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee on Thursday approved official classification of Shadsworth House in Dunoon Drive as a hostel/house in multiple occupation and agreed an upgrade of its facilities.
It houses 59 vulnerable residents (including the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts) but will reduce that number to 46.
Tenants representative Jacqueline McGrew told the meeting: “People on Shadsworth have been living in fear.
“They have a right to live peacefully.
“They are in fear of some of the residents of this place.”
Mrs McGrew, chair of the Blackburn with Darwen Independent Tenants’ Federation, claimed at the meeting there had been incidents of drug dealing, of men exposing themselves and ‘undesirable’ residents.
Jay’s Properties, which owns two similar properties in the town centre, has promised major improvements, councillors were told.
They will strengthen a licensing system for residents which bans anti-socal behaviour, non-prescription drugs and alcohol on the premises.
There will also be a new management plan agreed by the owners, council and police with inspections by borough officials now the official status of Shadsworth House has finally been clarified after ten years.
Since 2003, it has accommodated people in personal crisis as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ under a previous planning permission as a care home.
Jay’s agent Deborah Smith said: “We are pleased the application has been approved.
“There is no police or council record of serious problem with residents.
“The licensing system for residents and new management plan will deal with any future difficulties.
Shadsworth councillor Ron O’Keeffe said: “I don’t believe people have been living in fear.
“Some neighbours of Shadsworth House supported the approval.
“There has been a bit of trouble occasionally but that happens all over the estate.
“There have been no serious problems recently and the new regime will tackle any potential ones in the future.”