Anger over plans to turn Gosport housing centre into a homeless hostel

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ANGRY residents say they have not been given a chance to share their views on plans for a new homeless hostel.

Gosport Borough Council wants to turn Agnew House, in Mill Lane, into a temporary housing centre for families who find themselves on the streets.

It will spend between £850,000 and £900,000 bringing the former sheltered housing scheme up to required standards.

The proposed Agnew Family Centre will have more space than the council’s current accommodation centre, Barclay House.

But those who live nearby say they were never given the chance to put their views to the council.

Ken Millward, of St Vincent Road, lives opposite Agnew House.

The 57-year-old said: ‘Nobody from this area knew what was happening and the council had not asked any of us for our views.

‘I’m absolutely disgusted. Our daughter lives in Barclay House so we know what it’s like there.

‘I’m worried about what the site could be used for in the future.

‘I just think it’s wrong.

‘This is a nice family area, and we have got kids who live around here and I don’t think it’s right they want to build this here.’

The announcement came as the town has seen a 16 per cent rise in the number of families in need of a home this year.

The proposal was approved at a meeting of the council’s community board last week.

Keith Barr, a former Labour ward councillor for the area, has been handing out leaflets urging people to tell the council their views.

He said: ‘I used to be the councillor for that area at one time and I was wondering what would happen to that place.

‘I think everyone should have been offered the chance to have their say.

‘It will have an impact on everybody, so I’m encouraging people to make their views known to the council.’

Leader of the council, Cllr Mark Hook, said people will have the chance to speak about the proposals when a planning application is submitted to the council’s regulatory board soon.

He said: ‘We talked to people in the bungalows who live opposite.

‘A planning application will be submitted and people will have the chance to have their say at that stage.

‘Rather than have a derelict, empty building there, which may attract unsavoury characters, we are putting it to good use.

‘I think it’s right as a council we should look after people in their hour of need.

‘Last year we had a family who were victims of an arson attack. Where do you put those people when it’s 2am?

‘That’s what this centre will be for and it could be used by anyone.’