D-day for controversial Rainham hostel plans

A decision on a controversial new Rainham hostel is expected to be made today (Tuesday).

Havering Council’s regulatory services committee will be meeting tonight to discuss converting the council-owned Will Perrin Court, in Guysfield Drive, into a hostel.

Council officers have recommended approval of the application which has received strong opposition from people living nearby.

It has received a petition signed by 1,215 people and 358 letters objecting to the plans to convert the former sheltered accommodation for the elderly.

They say there would be additional pressure on local services; concerns over management and staffing of the hostel; fears over the safety of children and elderly residents; devaluation of properties; and it being an unsuitable development in a residential area.

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The council’s crime prevention and design advisor also raised concerns because it is in an area which already suffers a “disproportionate amount of crime.”

The advisor’s report said: “The proposal may raise the potential for crime and fear of crime; future occupiers may be vulnerable to crime, unless the building provides conditions to discourage (this); and the lack of parking spaces may result in on-street parking, leaving vehicles vulnerable to crime.”

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In the report the applicant responded by saying, “although the area suffers from high crime rates already, the proposal would bring a vacant building back into use.”

The council added that the building being staffed should reduce anti-social behaviour and crime, any anti-social behaviour at the hostel would result in eviction, and added 21 car parking spaces would be available at the hostel.

The report said: “Whilst staff give notice to the concerns raised in representations relating to anti-social behaviour, members’ attention is again drawn to the fact that the use is mostly for single parents and families in need of temporary accommodation until they can be housed elsewhere permanently.”

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