Plans to tighten up rules around Blackpool hostels welcomed
Proposals to overhaul regulations around the growth in supported living hostels opening in Blackpool have been welcomed.
Blackpool Council has been given £729,648 by the government to extend a pilot study investigating potential new controls over the use of former B&Bs to house vulnerable people.
Evidence has shown badly run hostels have failed to supply adequate support and triggered anti-social behaviour in some neighbourhoods including holiday areas.
Ian White, a director of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “It is great to hear extra government support has been provided to seriously investigate these issues, which can on occasion significantly and negatively impact on our members and their businesses.
“I for one will happily work with teams from the council to highlight areas of concern and look at ways the issues can be tackled, delivering a better, happier, safer Blackpool
“For too long Blackpool has been the easy option for the agencies that are potentially paid handsomely to arrange accommodation.
“Yet the evidence before our eyes is significantly clear that often due diligence is lacking, and the impact on the individuals and the communities where accommodation is secured is never taken into account.”
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard is also calling for tougher regulation of the sector.
He said: “I am certainly concerned by the proliferation of these establishments which appear to fall into something of a grey area when it comes to regulation.
“Blackpool Council has planning policies which can be applied but that involved the authority being aware of these businesses in the first place.
“Where there is clearly a change of use from holiday accommodation to other purposes planning permission should be required. Businesses owners and residents deserve adequate protection from what I fear is a growth industry in our town.”
Tenants include ex-offenders and recovering drug addicts, as well as older people, those suffering poor mental health and people fleeing domestic abuse.
The pilot scheme is considering new powers to control supported housing, including adopting new standards for provision.
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