PEOPLE have vowed to fight plans for supervised housing in their community.

Feelings are running high in Bishop Auckland, where The Depaul Trust is planning to build supported housing to help young people with difficulties learn to live independently.

The plans involve building three flats in Braithwaite Street and converting a nearby house in Prince's Street where young people, who may face homelessness or have left care, can receive support and learn skills including cooking and money management.

But people living near the homes are strongly opposing the scheme and have formed a protest committee.

At a meeting held in St Peter's Church Hall, on Monday afternoon, people living near the properties have said they will picket the scheme if needs be, fearing young offenders or trouble-makers may be moving into their community.

At the meeting, residents met Chris Reed, from the Three Rivers Housing Association, and Patrick Docherty, from the Depaul Trust, to find out what the project entailed.

June Wilson, from Prince's Street said people were un- happy with the answers they received at the meeting and had started a petition.

"People are more worried because we don't feel our questions have been answered. Why do 16 to 25-year-olds need supervision?

"People are feeling very, very strongly about this. We've said if it comes to it, we will picket the project."

A spokesman for Three Rivers Housing Association said: "Many of these young people are vulnerable because there has been a breakdown in the family unit and therefore they do not receive sufficient support from their own families. As a housing association providing supported housing, we are obliged to ensure the safety of our young, vulnerable tenants."

The scheme was drawn up after the Bishop Auckland Churches Group identified a shortage of emergency accommodation and information centres for young people in the town.