Concerns as work starts to turn student digs into hotels

GHETTO FEARS: Former Clifton Hotel and, Essex Hotel. Below, Coun Dave Wilson

GHETTO FEARS: Former Clifton Hotel and, Essex Hotel. Below, Coun Dave Wilson

Fears a main entrance to Preston will become a “ghetto of hostels” has been raised after work started to convert two student accommodation houses.

Ramsbottom-based Fresh Start has taken over the former Clifton Hotel and Essex Hotel in Fishergate Hill, Preston, which had been used by the homeless and drug users until being renovated for students in 2006.

Now the hotels will be used once again by the homeless, and locals are angry no public consultation was held by Fresh Start.

Riversway Councillor Dave Wilson, who has run a number of hostels across Lancashire, said: “Because it was already a house of multiple occupation for students, they didn’t have to apply for change of use permission, but they should have informed the local community.

“We are going to have a lot of these in a small space, and we’re in danger of getting a ghetto of hostels.”

He added: “I’m worried about how its going to be managed. Is there going to be adequate supervision?

“Hostels can work well, if properly done, but in the past we’ve had a lot of problems around here with drug users and people drinking outside late at night because nobody was taking control.

“I’m also worried about the pressure it will put on the local doctor’s surgery, because the type of people coming into these hotels are more likely to need medical attention.”

When previously occupied by the homeless and drug users, the Essex Hotel could hold 25 people and the Clifton had room for 50.

Police called the properties “hot-beds for crime” after repeated call-outs.

Fresh Start declined to comment.




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