A CONTROVERSIAL plan to use a former sheltered housing complex to house local homeless families is set to be approved by councillors.

Neighbours fear the plans for Spendells House, off Naze Park Road, Walton, could attract ex-offenders to the resort.

The 30-flat block was built in the early Sixties and had proved to be unpopular for numerous years due to the shared facilities and dated design, which led to it being closed by Tendring Council two years ago.

Some Frinton and Walton town councillors were left concerned the complex would become a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) after the plans were first mooted last year.

Walton councillor Delyth Miles previously said she supported the housing of ex-offenders in the block as long as they originate from Tendring, but other councillors were left outraged at the suggestion and residents descended upon a meeting of the council to voice their objection.

But following a behind-closed-doors meeting with Tendring Council’s head of housing, town council mayor Fiona Robertson said they have been “assured” the building will be used for families and that tenancy agreements would be tight to prevent antisocial behaviour.

Speaking at a previous meeting of the town council, Patricia Tatum, from Naze Park Road, said she had "real concerns" that the property might be used for housing ex-offenders.

A report looking into the future of Spendells House is now due to go before Tendring Council's cabinet on Friday.

Councillors will be asked to agree to bring the building back into use as a temporary accommodation unit for homeless people, particular family households.

The report said: "Homelessness applications and temporary accommodation placements have been increasing over recent years, a trend that shows no sign of diminishing.

"Currently temporary accommodation is sourced externally via local property owners and bed and breakfast establishments.

"With an estimated investment of £600,000, Spendells House can be brought into use as council-owned and managed temporary accommodation providing a better quality and more versatile provision than is currently available externally.

"The project would enable significant savings to be made compared with the cost of existing options used by the council."

But officers also warned the cabinet that the decision could damage the council's reputation.

It said: "There may be challenge from the local community based on a perception that a temporary accommodation unit will bring problems to the area, such as anti-social


"The scheme will be well monitored and managed and as such is unlikely to have an adverse impact on the local community.

"Use of accommodation elsewhere in the district has demonstrated that it is preferable for temporary placements to be within managed facilities rather than relying on alternative properties.

"Consultation has been undertaken with Frinton and Walton Town Council and the local ward member with both offering support for the scheme providing the accommodation is used mainly for families, which will be the case."