Edgbaston residents claim victory in Church Road hostel battle
Residents of a leafy Birmingham suburb have claimed victory after a decision on plans to site a hostel for young men with criminal records in their area was put off.
However, planning officers at Birmingham City Council are still ‘minded to approve’ the application to transform a five-bedroomed Georgian house into a rehabilitation centre for troubled youths aged up to 25.
The planning committee decided on Thursday to defer the decision until after a ‘site visit’ to the property, which is on Church Road.
The committee heard evidence from a local resident who said the hostel was in the wrong area. He also said that claims from the property’s owners, Calthorpe Estates, that the building could not be sold for private residential use, were unfounded.
The committee also heard from Peter Hannah-Smith, from the Depaul Trust charity, who will run the hostel.
He said: “We have made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of youths thanks to our highly trained staff.
“We are a responsible organisation and all the youths who come to our project will have gone through a rigourous assessment.”
Coun Adrian Delaney (Con Weoley) said: “The police do not want this, they have objected to it, and I cannot remember the last time the police commented on an application in this way.
“It is OK for the organisation running the home to say that they are assessing the youths staying at the home, but what about the visitors? Who can vouch for those people?”
The committee also heard calls for conditions to be set on how the hostel is managed, including 24-hour supervision. Several members said there should be a 12-month assessment period before permanent approval is given.
Local councillor Dierdre Alden (Con Alden) said after the meeting: “The council is concerned that if this decision went to an appeal they would lose, then setting conditions of use on this property would be out of our hands.
“But today’s decision to have a site visit was a victory for us because the committee has been advised to accept the plans.”