CONCERNS have been raised over plans to create a hostel for vulnerable young people.

Changing Lives, which works with homeless people, those battling drug and alcohol addiction, victims of domestic violence and the long term unemployed, hopes to create ten flats in Hedley House on Park Road in South Moor, near Stanley.

As well as an office, the supported accommodation, next door to South Moor Police Station, will also have a ‘crash pad’ for emergency referrals and a communal area for activities, training and learning.

Consultation is being held until February 20 and Durham County Council has so far received five letters of objection to the scheme.

Yvonne Irving, of Beech Terrace, South Moor, said: “I really don’t think this hostel should be allowed in South Moor.

“We already have enough trouble with youths with drugs drink and alcohol.

“If they are vulnerable people it’s hardly the right environment for them.

“Hearing from other people that live near other such hostels, they are not supervised as promised, not to mention the fact that house prices are already too low in South Moor due to undesirable residents.”

The Gateshead-based charity, which is working Durham County Council Housing Solutions and Children and Young People’s Services on the project, has said the accommodation will be staffed 24 hours a day by experienced support workers who will help residents.

Mark Howard, of Keswick Road, South Moor, said: “At present with the issues South Moor faces with drugs and other related crime a hostel is not appropriate for the area.

“South Moor is a rundown village with little or no investment over the years this is not the sort of property wanted or required by local residents.

“I strongly protest against this development and will do for any hostel in this village. It is not wanted by the local residents and the council should recognise that this sort of proposal, should it go ahead, will only further run the village further into the ground.”

The decision will be made by members of the authority’s north area planning committee and is expected to go before councillors next month.

Becky Elton, of Changing Lives, said: “The accommodation provides so much more than a bed, we want to give young people who have lacked opportunities through family breakdown, limited social or financial prospects the chance to transition into adulthood smoothly and develop into happy and confident individuals.”