Fear Brierley Hill home will house offenders

Plans to house homeless people in Brierley Hill have led to fears drug users, ex-convicts, sex offenders and undesirables will blight the area.

A plan to home rough sleepers in a residential street has sparked fears of sex offenders could move in. Credit Google Street View
A plan to home rough sleepers in a residential street has sparked fears of sex offenders could move in. Credit Google Street View

The application by Dudley Council to convert a house on Victoria Street into accommodation for former rough sleepers has created fears that crime and anti-social behaviour will increase.

The authority is seeking permission to build an extension allowing a four-bedroom detached house to be turned into five flats with office space, a communal kitchen and shared living space.

Documents in support of the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) say it will plug a gap in provision for people living on the streets and allow them to move on to permanent homes in the future.

But local residents say they fear who will be housed there.

In a written objection, one couple asked: “What guarantees can you give us that this HMO in the future will not be used to house ex‐convicts, paedophiles and drug addicts? This is a shock to our community, we are a very close neighbourhood.”

Alarm bells

They add: “Obviously, this rings alarm bells for us; that the property prices on the street will now be considered worthless and our homes considered unsaleable as result of this infliction upon our community.

“Neighbours are extremely concerned for the safety of their homes and their children. Our street is made up of elderly and vulnerable people and young families.”

Another neighbour simply wrote: “We do not want undesirables living near me.”

Residents say traffic and parking problems on the road and neighbouring streets will get worse.

But council officers have said it is unlikely homeless people will have cars, and anyone moving into the property will be assessed to help them get a long-term home, while one of the flats will be wheelchair adapted for a disabled person.

In a report to councillors, planning bosses say they have received 26 formal objections and a petition signed by 25 people from the area.

But, recommending approval, they say the conversion will have no ‘demonstrable harm to neighbouring amenity’ and would not raise any significant highway safety concerns.

Councillors are expected to make decision on the application at a meeting of Dudley development committee on Wednesday, January 13.

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