Homeless hostel in Sheffield blamed for violent crime, sexual offences and arson by MP and residents

A Sheffield MP claims crime increased by 675 per cent when a former hotel was converted into a hostel for homeless people.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:15 pm

The Staindrop Lodge in Chapeltown closed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and was leased by Sheffield Council to accommodate homeless people under emergency coronavirus legislation.

Miriam Cates MP says since then there has been antisocial behaviour, violent and sexual offences, criminal damage and arson.

South Yorkshire Police says it has received only a slight rise in reports of antisocial behaviour.

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The Staindrop Lodge.

Sheffield Council says it’s aware of incidents of abusive and threatening behaviour, children being approached, begging, drug abuse, increased litter and drunkenness. It believes many people have not formally reported crimes to the police.

The council arrangement ended in June but the Fairhome Group wants the hotel to be converted permanently into 44 bedsits for homeless people.

Planning officers are advising councillors to refuse the application at a meeting next week.

Ms Cates joined almost 300 residents in objecting to the plans. In a letter she says: “Statistics indicate that crimes have increased 675 per cent in the immediate area of Staindrop Lodge when compared to the same period – March to December – in 2019.

“The most prevalent crimes being antisocial behaviour, violent and sexual offences, criminal damage and arson. Residents have raised their concerns that this rise may be attributed to those residing at Staindrop Lodge.”

Ecclesfield Parish Council has also objected: “There are already unacceptable crime and antisocial behaviour issues associated with the site, a crime hot spot as reflected in the number of police calls to the building.

“The development is inappropriate in a mainly residential area with a high number of elderly residents, many of whom are already scared.”

The Neighbourhood Policing Team has not experienced a rise in crime directly attributed to the hostel, but says there’s been a slight rise in anti-social behaviour.

It says: “Anecdotally residents attribute crime to the location and have raised concerns to the local team about this.”

Sheffield Council says local residents have overwhelming fears the development would increase crime.

Planning officers say: “While the number of people who have reported crimes and antisocial behaviour to the police has, according to SYP, been low, a very high number of residents have experienced incidents in the area surrounding the hotel.

“These include abusive and threatening behaviour, children being approached, begging, drug abuse, increased litter and drunkenness.

“Residents are concerned this type of behaviour would continue if the use of the building to accommodate homeless people becomes permanent.

“Bearing in mind the increase from 36 to 44 residents, and the perceived threat of increased crime – some of which is based on experience and a small increase in antisocial behaviour reported to police – it’s considered the use of the site to accommodate a high number of homeless people on a permanent basis would undermine the quality of life for residents that live close by.”

Councillors will make a decision on Tuesday, July 27.