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Crime concerns put a stop to new hostel at former Tuebrook church

YMCA Together had hoped to take on the site

The former church hall on New Road, Tuebrook

Plans to demolish a former church hall dating back to the 1800s in Tuebrook to make way for accommodation for homeless young people have been rejected.

A planning application had been submitted to Liverpool Council to provide 24-bed supported living accommodation at the currently vacant church hall on New Road. The service would have been operated by YMCA Together and Local Solutions to support young people aged between 16-21 in need of housing.

More than 100 objections were lodged with the city council over the plans, with Merseyside Police also submitting their own opposition. A report made public by the local authority detailed how officers felt the proposal was “situated in an area of Tuebrook where there is already an oversaturation of supported residential accommodation schemes.”

In addition, force representatives said the hostel would “contribute to crime in the area” and has “the potential to be a ‘gateway for crime’.” Opposition to the proposals had been evidence in graffiti opposite the building, Merseyside Police said.

The submissions made by the force were rejected by the applicant. According to a YMCA Together management plan, many of the young people who would have been accommodated “will not be in employment, education, or training, and can be at risk of exploitation."

It added: "The service will provide high quality wrap-around support focussing on empowering young people, developing their life skills through a bespoke skills programme, and preparing them for successful and sustainable independent living.” Documents submitted with the application said the brick-built former church building dates to 1890 and was designed to accommodate a congregation of 250 people. It has been vacant for some time and has been stripped back to brick in places.

In its letter outlining its reasons for refusal, the local authority said the development would “result in the loss of a community facility from within a local centre without demonstration that there would be no future need or demand for the space, or consideration of whether the premises are no longer suitable to continue in community use.” In addition, the council said it felt the proposal would “result in a poor relationship with the neighbouring property” and “would likely lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour as a result of the proximity to local businesses and residential properties and would be difficult to police effectively because of the highway layout and features of the public realm in the immediate vicinity of the site, to the detriment of residential amenity.”

Cllr Steve Radford, Tuebrook and Stoneycroft Liberal Party member, said “Over 100 residents joined me in putting objections into the building becoming a hostel. We don’t want Tuebrook to become a dumping zone for any hostel.”

Cllr Radford said the plans would have created “practical problems” and added: “It’s just the wrong place.”


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