Residents say ‘no’ to Homeless unit

RESIDENTS of Oliver’s Brae and Marybank have voiced strong objections to the possibility of a homeless hostel being built in their area.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have identified a need for a Shared Temporary Accommodation unit in the Stornoway area but have come up against resistance at the three identified sites.

The sites were at Oliver’s Brae; the second at Allt na Broige Marybank and the third at the Dormitory, also in Marybank.

36 residents attended the Oliver’s Brae meeting and 23 in Marybank and the Comhairle admit that there was overwhelming opposition.

At Oliver’s Brae concerns were expressed about clients with serious social issues who would be using the Unit and how this would impact on children, the elderly and single residents.

There was also a general feeling that the building would be too large and out of character with the residential nature of the area.

Road safety and water and sewerage constraints were also highlighted.

At Marybank, concerns were similar and particularly the closeness of the unit to the playpark.

It was reported that an on-going project to replace the existing playpark with modern facilities would be unable to proceed if the unit was developed.

Concern about clients with drink, drug and other social issues living in the unit were also raised.

The site at Allt na Broige is owned by HHP and is also under consideration for a housing development of eight units.

The Dormitory site is owned by a local building firm and part of the site is no longer available as the owner has identified another use for it.

A report before members of the Environment and Protective Services Committee at the Comhairle said: “the community consultation resulted in a clear message from both communities that a development of this nature would not be welcomed on the three sites under consideration. It is recommended that the Comhairle explores further sites for consideration including all sites previously identified, with a veiw to selecting the most appropriate site before the end of the 2010/11 Financial Year.”