A CONTROVERSIAL ‘homeless hub’ in Chester will not open as scheduled next week.
More than 1,300 people signed a petition opposing plans to convert a former old people’s home into a homeless shelter at Richmond Court in Boughton.
A belated public consultation showed that 85 per cent of people did not support the homeless shelter.
Despite that, the change was unanimously approved by the Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) executive in February.
Under the banner of ‘Residents For Democracy’, campaigners fought tirelessly since the plans were first revealed in June 2012 following the council’s decision to award its homelessness contract to Foundation Enterprises North West (FENW).
The hub was due to open on November 4 but that has been postponed until January following discussions with residents.
Many fear the decision to move homeless provision from the city centre will lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in Boughton.
CWaC and FENW have now proposed putting extra CCTV cameras in the area and the community are now being consulted on that suggestion.
Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for localities, said: “The council is committed to working with and listening to local residents, service users and providers to ensure that all parties’ needs are met.
“We’re working closely with the local community to ensure that they feel safe and secure and postponing until January in order to coincide with the installation of additional CCTV cameras currently under consultation is a prime example of us doing just that.
“This is an extremely positive step. Our decision was shared with residents at the City Community Forum last week and has been welcomed.
“Our locality team will continue to build good relationships with the community going forward.”
Cllr David Robinson, who represents Boughton, said: “It makes sense that mitigation measures are in place to coincide with the opening of the homeless hub.
“It’s important that Boughton residents give a strong clear response to the current consultation so I urge everyone to take part.”
l FOR more details about the CCTV consultation go to www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/boughtoncctv or call 01244 972303.
All responses must be received by Wednesday, October 30.