Dudley Council leader will not back controversial hostel plans
The leader of Dudley Council will not back plans for a 65-bedroom hostel for men, it has been revealed.
Council boss Patrick Harley said he would not give his support to charity Expectations UK's proposal to transform New Bridge House in Bayer Street, Coseley.
Plans would see the former care home become a hostel for men over the age of 25, excluding those with arson convictions or offences of a serious sexual nature.
At a meeting with campaign group Coseley Focus, the Dudley Council leader said as a resident of the borough himself he would not want to see the development come to fruition.
Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said: "As a Dudley resident I would not want to see this type of development here.
"I am more than happy to work with you on this. At the minute we have got no need for it and I cannot see how we can support that.
"I can not say whether it will get approved or not. It is not for me to judge a planning application. We do not need it. It is not something we are working in conjunction with.
"There is not a need for that level of support within the borough, and there is no need in the borough for a facility of this kind."
The leader's comments come after Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said it would be irresponsible of the council if the plans were given the go-ahead.
In a letter to Dudley Council, Mr McFadden said: "Those who have written to me oppose the change of use and feel there are not the support facilities available in Coseley to deal with the large number of people with complex needs that this application would result in.
“The correspondence I have received is not just a matter of local sentiment. It has also been backed by an objection from West Midlands Police.
“I believe the objections from the police are very significant and that it would be irresponsible to approve this planning application in the light of these objections.”
The charity's bid has also come under fire from West Midlands Police, who submitted an objection back in August.
Officer Bob Manson, of the Force Crime Reduction Unit, said if the green light were given to the plans it would change 'a very low crime rate'.
Following the meeting on Wednesday night, Coseley Focus campaigner Tony Sheldon said: "It will be interesting to see what happens.
"I think it is a no brainer, especially since we have the support of the police."