Yeovil Town Council rejects hostel Plans

It is rare for a town council meeting of any description to draw the crowds. But last night Yeovil Town Council acted in anticipation. They booked the ballroom at the Westlands Centre for their Planning Committee meeting. There was only one item on the agenda. A planning application to convert a former old people’s home into a homeless shelter. The property is known as Acacia Lodge and it is at the top of Hendford Hill near the Quicksilver Mail pub. The application site is in Westlands Ward of both the town council and South Somerset District Council.

The extra space was needed too. over 170 people were in the audience. There were 20 people registered to speak against the plans. At 3 minutes each, it meant it was not going to be a short meeting.

The objections were broadly against this form of provision for the homeless. But not against providing for the homeless. The existing shelter, Pathways, in central Yeovil has a reputation for being a centre of anti social behaviour and crime. Most authorities, including South Somerset District Council, agree that hostels are the wrong way to go. This would house 39 residents. The ideal, the objectors say, is to find small units dispersed around the community. Units that allow integration back into society.

In the end when everyone had their say, councillors were left speechless. Only half a dozen had anything to say at all. Enough though to get a proposer and seconder. The Planning Committee voted 8 against, 3 abstentions and one did not vote.

A number of residents were grumbling as they left that two of their district councillors abstained. Both David Gubbins and Kark Gill are SSDC District Councillors for Westlands. They were also town councillors for the area and sit on the Yeovil Town Council Planning Committee.

It is possible that both decided not to vote so they could reserve their position. That means they could vote against the proposal at SSDC’s Area South committee without having prejudiced their position.

One Comment

  1. Andrew Beamish Reply

    Thank you so much for being there to cover this incredibly important planning meeting, it is appreciated by the hundreds of members of HOHH and the wider public.

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