BOLSOVER District Council has approved plans to convert the former Great Northern Public House in Shirebrook into a Residential Hostel for homeless men.
The proposal, which is for a 16-bed hostel, where men predominantly aged over 25, who have become homeless and want to turn their lives around have somewhere to go, was approved after a lengthy debate and a narrow vote of seven for and six against was recorded.
The planning committee heard several speakers for and against the proposal and received a 1,600 strong petition against the development. Councillors heard concerns relating to the perceived fear of crime, local opposition to the proposal and the problems already in existence in the area, which the objectors felt this type of development could add to.
However, applicants Lighthouse Homes stated the hostel will be a dry house with a zero tolerance policy on alcohol consumption both inside or outside the property with strict curfews. The hostel will provide a family environment for disengaged men and the procedures put in place will help restrict any potential problems.
Planning permission had already been granted to change the use from a public house to residential use and was perceived to bring significant social and health benefits to the homeless men who would occupy the hostel, whilst securing the re-use of an important key building in the town.
The development of the site must be started within three years of the date of the permission being granted and that any external building materials must match those used in the existing building as closely as practicable to ensure the character of the building is preserved.