Planning officers are advising councilors to deny a request to convert the Staindrop Lodge hotel in Chapeltown at a meeting next week.
The hotel closed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and has been leased by Sheffield Council to accommodate the homeless under the government’s emergency coronavirus legislation.
The council arrangement ended in June 2021, but the Fairhome Group wants the hotel to become permanent homeless housing.
More than 300 residents, Miriam Cates MP and Ecclesfield Parish Council objected and – in an unusual move – the council’s own housing director also strongly criticized the plans.
Janet Sharpe said the development was not suited to the region and would not provide the level of support needed.
She said the council had no agreement with the developer to make references to its services, or commission services, and that it had not received any communication as to whether the building was appropriate.
âI am concerned that a number of statements in the application indicate that Sheffield Council provides a similar service in the same location and will make cross-references to the proposed program. None of these statements are true.
âThe concentration of 44 beds for people who have been or are at risk of being so, some of whom have multiple and complex needs, could have a significant impact on the living conditions of the occupants and the local community.
âThe council placed homeless people at Staindrop Lodge in response to the government directive, it was a maximum of 36 people and residents are not allowed to have non-residents in the accommodation.
âThese are short-term placements with daily on-site support from specialist housing and agency staff, including mental and physical health, and substance abuse and alcohol services.
âEach person has an agreed support plan and is rehoused as soon as possible in suitable adapted accommodation. In recognition of the vulnerability of residents, we provide a 24 hour on-site agent and security presence.
âThe nomination does not include any proposal to provide staff or similar support or any details of the impact on the local community.
âWith the exception of a very small gymnasium, the plans do not include common facilities for officers to allow support for vulnerable residents.
âResidents would be placed without the wrap-around support in an area not equipped to meet their needs, or close to their own support networks.
âThis is likely to result in challenging behaviors impacting building residents, the local community, and abandoned placements. “
Ms Sharpe said local doctors’ offices and pharmacies may not be equipped to support a group with complex needs.
She added that the small size of units would likely result in high turnover of properties which would become increasingly difficult to rent and create significant rental management issues.
Councilors will make a decision on Tuesday July 27, the request can be viewed here