HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has thrown his weight behind a community campaign to halt plans to convert a former bakery into social housing.
Mr Wright joined around 60 residents at the latest meeting to be held by campaigners against proposals to turn the former Anderson’s Bakery into four one-bedroomed flats by Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community (Disc).
The charity, which helps people find jobs and deal with issues including poverty, crime, addiction, homeless and family breakdowns, wants to convert the building, on the corner of Windermere Road and Ashgrove Avenue, into homes, potentially for recovering drug users and alcoholics.
Mr Wright told the session he has written to the council’s chief executive Dave Stubbs to pass on concerns after he was contacted by constituents concerned about the change and will contact St Aidan’s and St Cuthbert’s schools to urge them to have their say on the scheme.
He said: “It should not be in that location and the way they are going through the process is wrong.
“For a supposedly reputable organisation, it’s fundamentally wrong and the whole process has been done the wrong way around and it’s in the wrong place.
“I know the area very well and I used to be proud to represent it on the council.
“The residents in that area are a predominantly older population and there are schools and it is not the right place for single people, predominately men, to live.
“Everybody deserves a second chance, nobody is denying that, but if you’re a recovering alcoholic or out from prison you need a transition period where you need help if you want a drink or need a fix and that isn’t there.
“It needs to be closer to the town centre were there are support agencies in place.”
Residents in the Foggy Furze area believe the flats will exacerbate problems with anti-social behaviour, increase crime and the fear of crime and cause parking problems.
They say they are being “railroaded” over the plans.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher told a previous meeting the local authority would look at buying the building from Disc if it was willing.