A PROPERTY developer planning to turn an old school into a hotel is facing a backlash from nearby residents who fear it will become a hostel for the homeless.
Hetton developer Alan Le Blond’s proposals for his 17-bedroom ‘Hotel Le Spring’ has hit a major snag with neighbours who have come out in force to object to his planning application.
Many feel a hotel is not viable on the site, in Bog Row, and will end up attracting undesirable guests.
John Cummings, who lives less than 200 yards from the former girls’ school, said: “If a hotel was viable in this area I think one of the budget hotel chains would have already been on the case.
“Our worry is that if permission is granted, a budget hotel operation would fail and force any owner to turn to drop-outs to fill the place which could end up nothing more than a doss-house with all the associated social problems and noise that come with it.
“Residents around here take great pride in their local area.
“There are also three schools in the vicinity whose pupils currently walk past the building.
“Many local residents are older and deserve peace and quiet.
“I urge my fellow residents to object to the council to have plan thrown out.”
Helen Wilcox, of The Crescent, added: “We have lived opposite the proposed development for over 25 years and are very concerned.
“Guests would be packed in like sardines.
“By the plans it looks more like a hostel than a hotel and we are very worried about noise from deliveries and people coming and going at all hours.”
Other comments registered on Sunderland City Council’s website included ‘It’s not exactly the Hetton Hilton, is it?’, ‘It’s nothing more than a second-rate hostel.’
Until recently the building was owned by Sunderland City Council and ran as a Social Services day care drop-in centre before being sold to Mr Le Blond.
If planners decide in his favour, Mr Le Blond, 75, of nearby South Lodge Farm, plans to open the hotel as early as September.
Mr Le Blond also owns the nearby Fox and Hounds pub and is in the process of converting the Three Tuns in Easington Lane into four houses.
Mr Le Blond was unavailable for comment.