Concern is mounting among some Wanstead residents at a planning application for a 29-bed hostel at 65 Cambridge Park. Details of the intended purpose of the hostel are not specified in the planning documents – the Wanstead Guardian reports it’s for a homeless hostel – but several residents are concerned that simple “change of use” permission could pave the way for a number of different groups to be housed there.
Wansteadium reader Paul Mullen wrote: “I am trying not to base my objection from a not-in-my-back-yard standpoint, but rather from the standpoint that this site is based within a half-mile radius from two primary schools and two care homes for the elderly.”
He said that while a homeless hostel would not be as worrying as a bail hostel, it would still, he believed, only be for overnight accommodation, “meaning that each morning there could be 29 homeless people being turned out on to the streets with nowhere to go”.
“I personally think it is a good thing that homeless people are being offered overnight accommodation but, I think that this is the wrong location,” he said.
The Wanstead Society are among about 60 representations that have been made to the council over the application. Their objection states that there is insufficient detail in the application for it to proceed safely.
“There are many different types of hostel – each with its own particular set of concerns for the local community. For example, if it were to be used as a bail hostel, then anyone awaiting trial could be housed there – including sex offenders. This would be extremely worrying for local residents as two schools are in the immediate vicinity. If it were an asylum hostel then other considerations would apply. Until and unless we are told by the developer, not only must we object to this application, but would also urge that no decision can safely be taken.”
Details of the application can be seen at this page. Consultation on the plans finishes on Monday.