Hostel owners are challenged

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Residents of the Annagh district have challenged the owners of the Edward Street hostel – which accommodates ex-offenders - to “come clean” over where they will be re-housed during the demolition and re-building of the premises.

The hostel, which is next door to the police station, is being re-built to create a better standard of accommodation for the 15 residents and staff.

A group from the Tandragee Road residents has sent a statement to the Portadown Times, voicing their “fears” that the local Annagh House hostel building may be used to decant the ex-offenders.

The contract work, expected to be around 18 months, is due to start soon.

But the owners (The Open Door Housing Association) are giving no definite answer over where the 15 will be housed in the meantime.

The residents say they understand that the Annagh area will be targeted to accommodate the displaced residents. They state, “The Open Door Housing Association are being very coy over both the type of ex-offender and where they plan to accommodate them in the interim.”

They add, “This district is already defined as one of the worst areas of multiple deprivation in Northern Ireland, with very large numbers of young children, teenagers and elderly people.

“At least in Edward Street, they were adjacent to the police station. On Tandragee Road, they’ll have free rein to roam despite their supposed ‘attendants’.

“Based on our current experience of Open Door, and their failure to communicate effectively with local residents, is it likely that, in a year or so, we’ll see another attempt to slip an application through to turn this ‘temporary’ location into a permanent site? It could be a big problem for all of Portadown.

“When are we going to hear from the association and from the politicians we elected to represent us in the Annagh district?”

A statement from Open Door said, “Decant arrangements have not been finalised for the remodelling of Edward Street Hostel. Annagh House is not being considered.

“Edward Street has been the location of a hostel for people without a home since 1981 and the renovation of this building is to create a better standard of accommodation for both clients who use it and the dedicated staff who work in it.”

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