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Community celebrates ‘fantastic’ victory over plans for bail hostel in Sunderland street

Plains Farm residents concerned about plans to have a 'halfway house' in Paton Sqaure Plains Farm, Sunderland, pictured outside the housing managers surgery on Plains Road.

Plains Farm residents concerned about plans to have a 'halfway house' in Paton Sqaure Plains Farm, Sunderland, pictured outside the housing managers surgery on Plains Road.

RESIDENTS of a Sunderland estate have won their battle against a housing company who wanted to turn a house in their street into a bail hostel.

The Echo reported on Monday that people living near 1, Paton Square, in Plains Farm, got together to oppose the scheme by Home Group.

The housing group said the house would be revamped and used for the Ministry of Justice’s Bail Accommodation and Support Service (Bass).

A group of up to 100 people gathered two days in a row at the property, as well as at the Home Group offices in nearby Plains Road. Protestors even went as far as barricading the front entrance to prevent workers entering the site.

Now, after talks between Home Group and police on Monday, the organisation made a U-turn, announcing that the plans had been scrapped.

Jolan Gergely, head of Bass, said: “It is no longer our intention to use the property on Paton Square to provide private accommodation for our clients. Home Group will be using the property for general needs housing.”

Silksworth ward councillor Philip Tye, who helped the residents with their campaign, said: “I’m ecstatic and so are the residents. It’s not often we get a quick win like that.

“The residents came out fighting and this is exactly the result they wanted to see. Home Group rang me as soon as the decision had been made.”

Council worker Michelle Robertson, 45, who lives with IT consultant husband Mark, 42, and 10-year-old son Ethan in Paton Square, called the news ‘brilliant’.

“We are ecstatic. I knew we would win because we were determined, but I thought it would be more of a struggle.

“It’s people power and it has brought the community together.”

Careworker Joan Skinner, 58, lives next door to 1, Paton Square, with husband Stephen, 60. The grandmother-of-eight, who has lived in her house for more than 20 years, said: “We are all over the moon. The community has been fantastic.”

 

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