Row over temporary home for St Albans homeless shelter

PUBLISHED: 13:16 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

A BID to switch a temporary move for the city s night shelter from a St Albans housing estate to a village location has proved unsuccessful. Conservative, Labour and Independent members of the district council joined forces at last week s full council mee

A BID to switch a temporary move for the city's night shelter from a St Albans housing estate to a village location has proved unsuccessful.

Conservative, Labour and Independent members of the district council joined forces at last week's full council meeting in a bid to persuade the ruling Lib-Dem group that Open Door should be moved to the Ridgeview Hostel in London Colney on a temporary basis rather than the Oysterfields Estate..

They were supporting Labour group leader, Cllr Roma Mills, who believes that placing a hostel for the homeless, even temporarily, on the Oysterfields estate would not help its image or the morale of residents.

The 15-bed Open Door in Bricket Road, St Albans, is closing for extensive refurbishment at a cost of £500,000 and the proposal is to temporarily relocate it to the former Carr Gomm hostel on the Oysterfields estate.

Tory group leader, Cllr Julian Daly, said they had decided to support Cllr Mills' stand because the Oysterfields estate did not seem to be an appropriate location.

He pointed out that homeless people who would have used Open Door would be transported to the temporary hostel so it made no difference if it was Oysterfields or Ridgeview which is now half empty as it is scheduled to be sold off.

He added: "We have had problems at Oysterfields and we have worked hard to get the mix and numbers right there. There is a risk of upsetting that."

But housing portfolio holder, Cllr Joyce Lusby, pointed out last week that Ridgeview could be sold off during the period of Open Door's temporary tenancy and there were security issues with a hostel for the homeless.

She said that the Carr Gomm hostel was ideal because it had space for two overnight members of staff as well as beds for 15 homeless people and the housing association behind Open Door, Hightown Praetorian would be working hard to ensure that any problems were dealt with immediately.


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