Wisbech town councillors reject for the second time homeless hostel proposals

PUBLISHED: 12:56 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:14 02 June 2010

Luminus Group plans for Octavia View

Luminus Group plans for Octavia View

TOWN councillors rejected for the second time plans for a £2 million hostel for the homeless in Wisbech claiming it is a brilliant idea but in the wrong place . Their views were summed up by Susanah Farmer, the deputy town clerk, who took the minutes of

TOWN councillors rejected for the second time plans for a £2 million hostel for the homeless in Wisbech claiming it is "a brilliant idea but in the wrong place".

Their views were summed up by Susanah Farmer, the deputy town clerk, who took the minutes of last night's planning committee which rejected the proposals.

Mrs Farmer said councillors were almost unanimous in opposing the hostel and questioned what changes, if any, have been made to the original proposals which were rejected in July.

She said councillors "didn't really think their concerns from the first time around had been addressed. The councillors are all for assisting homeless people in Fenland, and are happy to have the facility in Wisbech. Location is the issue".

Mrs Farmer said councillors were concerned that reports were circulating of the hostel being available possibly to families who had become homeless after their houses had been re-possessed.

"Councillors were a bit concerned at the implication that this was for all homeless people-we were told at the meeting that the hostel is for single people only," she said.

Mrs Farmer said the hostel would provide 24 "quite small" single bedrooms, with 80 per cent occupancy locally and others from Cambridge and Kings Lynn. She said the committee was told the hostel could accommodate homeless people aged from 16 to 65 but the average age was expected to be 31.

"Councillors heard of the security planned for the hostel but there was a feeling that in this era of rehabilitation in the community, this was institutionalising people," she said.

Two local residents attended the committee and spoke against the proposals, and county councillor Steve Tierney also voiced his concerns. Councillor Phil Webb, who led opposition to the scheme on Fenland District Council, attended but did not speak.

"Councillors ultimately have serious concerns," said Mrs Farmer. "They felt this was the gateway to Wisbech and as such in the wrong place.


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