Parents fear homeless hostel close to school

Outraged residents: Francesca Richardson, Michelle Holton, Sheridan Devine, Suzann Eccles, head Rachel Kemp, Anita Moore, Amanda Peter
Outraged residents: Francesca Richardson, Michelle Holton, Sheridan Devine, Suzann Eccles, head Rachel Kemp, Anita Moore, Amanda Peter

Hundreds of parents and residents rallied against proposals for a hostel for homeless people opposite West Vale primary school, Halifax.

Headteacher Rachel Kemp called for a residents meeting with an Addison planning consultant and the Ashley Foundation - a Lancashire outfit - who will submit a planning application to convert a vacant mill on Maude Street, West Vale, into a 33-bed hostel for the homeless to Calderdale Council later this week.

The Ashley Foundation runs three hostels in Blackburn and three in Blackpool.

Planning consultant Jay Everett said: “We have approached the council as there is a demand for housing for Calderdale’s homeless. West Vale offers good transport links as well as a competitive market price.”

Ashley Foundation support and development manager Amber Sylvester told residents that the hostel would be staffed 24 hours and residents would be vetted.

Headteacher Rachel Kemp said: “I called the meeting at school as it’s important my children are safe and secure.”

The mill is situated 70 metres from the school.

Mother of two, Suzann Eccles said: “I’ll be worried for their safety; I won’t be able to let them out to play.”

Danielle Kelliher, 30, a dinner lady at West Vale and mother of two said: “It’s not about drugs - it’s the size of the hostel in a small village. There’s no amenities here.”

Residents will submit objection letters to the council.