ANGRY residents are bidding to shelve plans to turn a landmark Doncaster hotel into a home for young people leaving care.
Doncaster Council’s planning committee will meet tomorrow to discuss proposals to turn the Woodborough Hotel off Carr House Road into a hostel for up to eight teenagers who have recently left foster care.
But the plans, which a report recommends councillors should give the green light to, have met with fierce criticism and fears from local residents who want the idea scrapped over concerns about anti-social behaviour.
Doncaster Central ward councillor Coun John McHale, who will speak on behalf of residents at the Mansion House meeting, said many Belle Vue residents were fearful for the future if the project is voted through. He said: “This plan has really rung alarm bells in the community.
“Its not the kind of facility that’s needed in Belle Vue and I’ve had people telling me they’ve been in tears or can’t sleep because they are worried about the sort of people who will be moving in next door to them.”
The application, by the hotel’s current owner Ray Rodgers, is looking to change the three storey, 12-bedroom hotel on the corner of St Helen’s Road and Belle Vue Avenue into semi-independent living accommodation for up to eight residents aged between 16 and 18.
Residents would be supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week by two full-time members of staff with the unit providing education and training to enable users to live independently after their 18th birthday.
The report, which will be discussed by the planning committee, addresses residents’ concerns and states: “The majority of the concern arises from the belief that those who will be resident at the faculty have criminal backgrounds which will contribute to a fear of local safety and anti-social behaviour. In planning terms, limited weight can be attached to matters such as anti-social behaviour - the matter for discussion is the use of the building and not the tenants that are to be resident.”
Recommending that the plan is given the go-ahead, the report adds: “On balance it is considered that there will be no unreasonable impact on the residential amenity of the neighbours and it has been identified that there is a need for such facilities in the community.”
But Coun McHale said residents were concerned that a young children’s play area, due to be built next to the hotel, would be ruined if the scheme is voted through.
He added: “The people of Belle Vue have worked very hard over the last few years to improve their neighbourhood and they don’t want to see this building here. They are scared - they are worried that children of the ilk of the two boys who carried out that heinous attack in Edlington could be living here.
“They want their children to be safe and the children’s play area is the final part of the jigsaw in bringing back the community spirit to this area. There are fears not only for children but also the elderly too - and of course, residents are worried about the effect on property prices too.”
Coun McHale’s fellow Central Ward councillors Coun Glyn Jones and Coun Sue Wilkinson are also opposed to the plan and Belle Vue residents are planning to turn up en masse to object to the scheme.
Nobody from the Woodborough Hotel was available for comment.