Sidmouth young professionals home bid

PLANS to turn sheltered accommodation in Sidmouth into housing for young professionals won the support of town councillors.

But civic leaders warned against tarring benefits claimants with the same brush over a ‘no DSS tenants’ rule.

Applicant Graham Bess wants Abbeyfield House, numbers 20, 21 and 22 in All Saints Road, to become housing of multiple occupation.

He says the move would provide accommodation to young people employed in the building and service industry.

Plans state Mr Bess he doesn’t intend to offer any of the proposed 18 rooms to ‘DSS’ (Department of Work and Pensions claimant) tenants due to “social problems they bring with them”.

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“We’ve got to be careful not to label people as trouble,” said Councillor Ann Liverton when Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee members met last Wednesday.

“In these stringent and difficult times there are a lot of people on benefits who wouldn’t want to be,” she added.

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Cllr Ian Barlow held a concern over possible noise from young professionals living together. “They do like to party,” he said.

“With 18 rooms, it will need a fairly strong manager.”

Cllr Mary Jolly said: “This is a good use for that building. It’s a very good solution.”

Members supported proposals. The district council will decide.

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