PLANS to create a hostel for vulnerable young people are set to be approved despite objections from neighbours.

Changing Lives, which works with homeless people, those battling drug and alcohol addiction, victims of domestic violence and the long term unemployed, is proposing to create 11 self-contained flats in Hedley House on Park Road in South Moor, near Stanley.

The supported accommodation, next door to South Moor Police Station, which will be permanently manned, will also have an office which can be used as a ‘crash pad’ for emergency referrals.

Planning officers have recommended the Durham County Council’s north area planning committee meeting next Thursday approve the plans, saying they do not believe the facility would lead to an increase in crime.

The council has received 27 letters of letters of objection from 25 homes in the area, raising concerns about potential problems with crime.

A number of residents feel the development is aimed at South Moor as a “dumping ground” for problems with repeat planning applications of this kind.

Yvonne Irving, of Beech Terrace, South Moor, who is among those objecting 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.

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.”

Hedley House says the project is an essential link for Durham to enable a sustainable transition into adulthood, for some of its most vulnerable young people.

Recommending approval senior planning officer Steve France says: “Officers concluded that the use would not inevitably result in an increase in crime, and objections have not provided evidence that the grant of planning permission would result in crime from this or attracted to this specific proposal.”