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Northfleet pub to be turned into homeless shelter
ANNOYED residents have vowed to appeal after Gravesend Council granted permission to transform a former pub into a homeless shelter.
The Sisters of Mercy will now convert the Rising Sun public house into a place where 12 homeless people can live and get rehabilitated. Despite the public gallery being packed out with concerned neighbours from Seymour Road, the committee put the application through agreeing that the Sisters of Mercy had a 'first-class reputation' and would manage the venue successfully.
Carly Cox, who lives next to the pub, spoke at the meeting and raised concerns about possible drug dealing and other crime.
She said: "We are going to appeal this decision.
"We all feel let down that this has been given the go-ahead, it was already decided before we even got here.
"I was homeless at 17 but this is the wrong area for something like this.
"We visited the Edmund street house and it looked more like a squat with the curtains hanging down and men were smoking cannabis, "We don’t want this in our area, at the moment it is crime free according to the police."
Councillor Lee Croxted said at the meeting: "In planning terms there is no way I can turn it down.
"We don’t want to see cheap rented accommodation being put here.
"The House of Mercy provide a real channel for those disadvantaged people in our community."
Councillor Robin Theobald added: "The place needs to be managed properly if it is going to work.
"This is not an ideal site but with the management record of the Sisters of Mercy I think things will be fine." The charity has two other properties in Gravesend – in Edwin Street and Hillside Drive – and the council says it has not caused problems in those areas.
The Houses of Mercy will not allow arsonists, sex offenders and people with a history of violence to stay.
The Sisters of Mercy have a strict code that its tenants would need to observe, including no alcohol or drugs, including cigarettes.
The application was unanimously granted by the committee at Thursday night's meeting (Dec 12).
Sister Magdalene Reilly from the Sisters of Mercy said afterwards: "Obviously we are very pleased and we hope work to start soon.
"There are lots of homeless people in Gravesend and we hope it will be ready soon."
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