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Finsbury Park neighbours tell Hackney Council: There’s too much temporary housing here – don’t allow any more

PUBLISHED: 17:45 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:03 07 March 2018

The property in Somerfield Road. Picture: Google Maps

The property in Somerfield Road. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

People in Finsbury Park say they don’t want vulnerable teenagers living next door to them because their area has too much temporary accommodation and it’s causing anti-social behaviour.

Themicare, a firm that runs emergency accommodation for young people, has taken over management of a building in Somerfield Road providing eight rooms.

But owner Costas Spyrou has had to apply for retrospective planning permission for the conversion into a “residential institution” and councillors are set to decide on the plans tonight.

The application has given neighbours the chance to complain about a “rise in anti-social behaviour” they say is caused by another property in adjoining Wilberforce Road run by Themicare. They say there’s already an “oversupply” of temporary housing in the Brownswood ward, and don’t want any more.

Police and the council, however, support the bid. Police say Themicare worked with them “very well” whenever issues occurred at the Wilberforce Road property, adding that another Themicare site in Queen’s Drive was “equally well run”.

Themicare properties are staffed 24 hours a day and have CCTV.

Police said an increase in ASB in the immediate area over the last year was mainly because of one property in Wilberforce Road that is not run by Themicare, but is linked to Mr Spyrou in planning documents from 2016. Between May and June last year, the property generated “80 to 90 per cent” of the complaints reported to the safer neighbourhoods team and was unstaffed during the day.

The report states: “Complaints went up from around five a week to several reports a day and twice weekly meetings were held in order to consider the issues.

“Since a number of individuals were removed in October the number of complaints has dropped significantly.”

Themicare chief George Pastides told the Gazette his firm did essential work in housing the most vulnerable people in society.

“We’ve never had a complaint with any residents,” he said. “I’m not saying we never will, because some residents we take on are challenging. But we have very robust procedures in place.

“Unfortunately, people, when they hear what we do, sing our praises, but when it’s near to them they don’t want you.

“Our provisions are staffed 24 hours a day. Any issues and neighbours can contact the office.”

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