Hillfields' homeless centre site plan set to change

Tuesday 06 November 2012 Updated: 09/11 16:34

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How the centre would look if built on industrial land in Adelaide Street, Hillfields (s)

WHITEFRIARS has agreed to look at an alternative site for its new £6million homeless centre in Hillfields.

They were lobbied into the move by ward councillors Jim O’Boyle and Naeem Akhtar, and MP Jim Cunningham who met housing association bosses last week.

The unnamed site is not far from the current favoured site on Adelaide Street, but is in a more favourable location, according to Coun O'Boyle.

The owners are understood to be prepared to parcel off sections of the land to make a sale and development easier.

Dave Hider, director of housing strategy at WM Housing Group, which Whitefriars is part of, told The Observer: "We are committed to finding the most appropriate location, so we are now looking into the suitability of the site and will report our findings back to them."

Plans for the location of the 60-room residential, training and support centre were revealed at the start of October and a planning application was set to be submitted in the next few weeks, but that may now be delayed.

Coun O’Boyle said: "Residents and ourselves are not opposed to a hostel let me make that clear.

"The current location is wrong with a children’s centre, people’s homes and housing for our older citizen’s right next to the proposed site."

Mr Cunningham added: "Whitefriars are proposing to spend £6million of tax payer’s money on this project.

"They have a duty to spend it wisely and carefully and we will hold them to account. They also have a duty to local people which they need to full fill. At the moment they are failing to do that."

Coun Naeem Akhtar said: "I hope Whitefriars listened carefully to what we said, we listened to them.

"I also pointed out their consultation had been poor and it needed to improve. They agreed with that and promised to listen and respond to all concerned residents."

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