Neighbours given chance to have say on new St Albans homeless centre

St Claire's nursing home on Church Crescent

St Claire's nursing home on Church Crescent


A second public meeting will be held to offer residents the chance to find out more about controversial plans to turn a former care home into temporary accommodation for homeless people in St Albans city centre.

The event comes in the wake of furious reactions from neighbours at a previous meeting, where they condemned proposals to alter the use of St Claire’s in Church Crescent by the Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association.

The association is proposing creating 16 bedrooms with shared bathrooms for people who have made a homeless application to the council and who require temporary accommodation until they find a permanent home.

Housing support staff would be available during the day and a night concierge worker would be present overnight. In addition, the site based staff would be able to access support from experienced managers around the clock.

Opponents to the scheme have already formed the St Claire’s Action Group, fearing the safety of children living near the home, urging Hightown to hold proper consultation before submitting their planning application for the building, previously used to accommodate people with mental health problems.

In response to demands, a second public meeting offering residents and other interested parties the chance to hear about the proposals has been scheduled for 7-9pm on Friday November 21 in the council chamber at the Civic Centre.

Hightown chief executive David Bogle said: “The public meeting will be chaired by Cllr Julian Daly, the leader of the council, and will give people the chance to hear about the proposals for St Claire’s and to ask questions.”

As a charitable housing association, Hightown aims to meet the needs of local people in housing need who can’t afford to rent or buy on the open market.

Mr Bogle added: “There is a need for short stay accommodation for local people in the St Albans district.”

Planning permission will be required to change the use of the building to a house in multiple occupation.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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