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Community tensions about anti-social behaviour at homeless accommodation

“COMMUNITY tensions” in Johnston have been highlighted by a local councillor as he says he has been “inundated” with calls about a local hotel being used as temporary accommodation.

Cllr Ken Rowlands asked at the social care overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (June 23) what is being done to combat antisocial behaviour at the Silverdale Inn, a lodge/hotel in Johnston which has been leased by the county council.

He said that he understood it was to take people off the streets and respond to Welsh Government homelessness requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic but “a number of people we have placed in the Silverdale Hotel have created problems.”

There have been reports of anti-social behaviour in the village on social media and Cllr Rowlands said he had been “inundated with phone calls from residents” with comments on a lack of adherence to social distancing and travel requirements, as well as drug use.

“How closely are we working with the people we are looking after? There must be some sort of supervision that doesn’t seem to be available at this time, what is going to be done about the problems that have arisen and the number of complaints from the general public,” asked Cllr Rowlands.

He was told that the use of the Silverdale was temporary by director of social services Jonathan Griffiths, who added that the “incidents” related to a “minority causing some issues to the community.”

Mr Griffiths added that not all responses to the pandemic had been successful but despite issues in Johnston around 200 families and individuals had been supported out of homelessness, including that sofa surfing, rough sleeping, fleeing domestic abuse and staying temporarily with friends.

Current restrictions made it harder to deal with those that “behave inappropriately” and require moving on to alternative arrangements.

Head of adult services Jason Bennett added: “A larger number of people at Silverdale who are adhering to all the social distancing and working positively with the housing team. A small minority we’ve had to engage with and police have had to engage with tarnishing the otherwise good work that’s happening.”

He told the committee he would be writing to all residents there to make clear that continued non-compliance would lead to them being asked to leave and security measures are being taken.


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