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Centre next to school could become sweetie shop for drug users, says resident
NEIGHBOURS fear anti-social behaviour on their doorstep after plans for homes for “troubled” children in residential areas were submitted.
Fears have been raised the application for 156 Picker-sleigh Road, Malvern, will bring children with behavioural problems or issues with drugs or alcohol to within a stone’s throw of nearby Grove Primary School.
Meanwhile, it has emerged a similar application for a former bed and breakfast at 166 Worcester Road has been made by controversial security firm G4S – despite no mention of the company in the application documents.
Both applications have received a flood of objections from residents about potential anti-social behaviour and parking. On the Pickersleigh Road centre – which would house five people at a time and employ up to seven staff – resident Garry Jones said: “They would be young offenders with their own problems, obviously.
“If there are drug users we could end up with drug dealers at the bottom of the road and unsavoury incidents.”
Saying the centre could become “a sweetie shop for drug users”, Mr Jones – whose two young grandchildren attend the school – pointed out that the proposed home would also be close to a respite centre for old people, Howbury House, and painted a scenario where drug users might be tempted to break in.
Applicant Priya Mehra could not be contacted for comment.
Although Simon Herbert of childrenhomes2013 is listed as the applicant for the Worcester Road development, it has emerged that no such company exists and Mr Herbert himself is a director of G4S.
It has been alleged in several national newspapers within the past few months the company has made numerous similar applications in Mr Herbert’s name in order to conceal the nature of its agreement in the plans.
In a letter to Malvern Hills District Council’s (MHDC) planning department, resident Brian Iles of Bank Street said he was concerned the building would be used for young offenders rather than just ‘children’ as specified in the application.
“It would appear G4S make a habit of being somewhat underhand when making applications of this type,” he wrote.
“I therefore urge MHDC to not grant permission to this application, at least until G4S have the decency to speak to the neighbours regarding the true intended use of Rosendale House.”
A spokesman for G4S – which recently came under fire for overcharging the Government by tens of millions of pounds for electronic tagging services – said this was common practice in making these sorts of applications.
“It’s not a case of hiding ourselves from the public,” she said. “It’s more that we would prefer our competitors not to be aware of our plans.”
A MHDC spokesman said it had no idea G4S was involved until a reporter from the Worcester News phoned. G4S is not thought to be connected to the Pickersleigh Road application.
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