A COUNTER-PETITION has been launched backing plans to convert two Chester properties previously used as student rooms into staffed accommodation for the homeless.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is proposing to provide a mix of studios and rooms for 21 people in need of support at both 26-27 and 28 Brook Lane.

The properties, which have been empty for more than two years, would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by a total of nine workers on a shift pattern.

The two planning applications, which are both for change of use from a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) into supported accommodation for the homeless, have been met with opposition from local residents.

An online petition – Residents against Homeless Shelter at Brook Lane, Chester – has been supported by more than 100 people, a number of which have raised fears of anti-social behaviour.

However, a counter-petition has now been launched stating that "action must be taken to support people who are homeless" and to "prevent more people facing the same crisis".

So far, more than 50 supporters have backed the petition entitled 'Residents in support of proposed Homeless Supported Accommodation at Brook Lane, Chester'.

The proposal at 26-27 Brook Lane is for 13 studios/rooms – two of which will provide self-contained accommodation with both a kitchenette and bathroom, four will have an en-suite bathroom, four will have a kitchenette and share a bathroom, and three will share both bathroom and kitchen facilities.

An office is proposed for staff at the front of the property and a separate dedicated staff toilet.

At 28 Brook Lane, the proposal is for a total of eight studios/rooms – three of which are self-contained units with both a kitchenette and bathroom, one has an en-suite bathroom, three have a kitchenette and share a bathroom, and one shares both bathroom and kitchen facilities.

In its planning application, Cheshire West and Chester Council states: "The provision of this accommodation forms a vital part of the council’s strategy to increase the supply of supported housing, reduce the use of hotel accommodation for people who are homeless and ultimately reduce the number of people who are homeless."

  • Residents have until October 8 to have their say on the proposals.