Controversial plans to use a town centre property to support homeless people, prompting fears of crime and drug abuse, have been withdrawn.
The proposals had sought permission to ‘regularise’ the use of the site, in Seafield Terrace, South Shields, for vulnerable adults whom are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
The applicant, Tyne Housing Association, has used the facility to support such people into permanent housing since it bought it in 2010.
But, following complaints about anti-social behaviour, council bosses found it was “unauthorised for planning purposes”.
This prompted an application to have it reclassified partly as a HMO - House in Multiple Occupation - and partly as residential property.
The plans were supposed to go South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee this morning but were withdraw.
According to the council’s planning department, police data prompted concern.
A report for councillors said: “It shows a large number of incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour associated with both the residents of and the visitors to the application site from June 2010 until the end of 2018.
“This pattern of crime and anti-social behaviour is significantly greater than the Council would have expected of a use of this particular type with appropriate management arrangements in place.
“The evidence confirms the actual use of the site is both unneighbourly and out of character with the immediate area.”
The application also went to the planning committee in February, when councillors voted to defer a final decision.
A spokeswoman for Tyne Housing Association said in a statement that it would ‘work closely’ with South Tyneside Council to continue providing the service.
It said: “Tyne has been operating in South Tyneside for over 25 years, commissioned by the local authority to deliver work that supports some of the borough’s most vulnerable and marginalised people through regulated housing and support services.
“All Tyne services are manned by a team of specialist support workers and provided with 24/7 monitoring by a trained concierge team, with our key priority being to ensure the safety of our residents and the local communities at all times.
“We’re extremely proud of the positive difference we’ve made to people’s lives within South Tyneside, and we’re pleased that the local authority recognises the need to provide these services that support people into mainstream, independent living within residential areas.
“We withdrew the current planning application on Friday, and hope that we’re now able to work closely with the local authority to define how, and where, they envisage this kind of support being made available in the future.”