FORMER football manager Harry Redknapp has won planning permission to evict 29 homeless people from a hostel to turn it into luxury flats.
Harry’s property company bought the The old Belgravia Hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset, that has been used as a shelter for the homeless since 1988 for £1.25m.
Nearly 30 people will be left without accommodation – resulting in the tax payer footing the bill[/caption]
The current residents will now be evicted by October 28 and will be re-housed by the local council at the taxpayer’s expense.
In granting the I’m a Celeb 2019 winner’s Pierfront Developments planning permission, town hall officials said they had ‘sympathy’ for the hostel’s occupants but their plight did not have a bearing on planning rules.
The former hotel will be converted into 14 flats and five houses – with none of the properties designated as affordable housing.
Gerry and Wendy Hunt have leased the building since 1988 and run it for the homeless.
82-year-old Gerry said: “We’ve been expecting this ruling for some time but we’re still really worried about the residents
“A large number of our residents have thankfully been re-housed but there are still quite a few who have not.
29 WITHOUT ACCOMMODATION
“Generally speaking Mr Redknapp and Pierfont Developments have not handled this process very well at all.
“It’s only recently that they’ve seemed concerned about the residents and have given us some time.
“Myself and my wife have been doing this for 31 years and this has been a bit of a struggle for us.
“I was almost a young man when we started this so it’s a shame to see it coming to an end like this.”
His daughter Karen Hunt added: “My mum and dad have just had enough now. It’s been a long and difficult process for them.”
Among the residents living in the hotel is the Hunt’s son who is disabled.
He has rented his room in the building for over a decade but has now been left with nowhere else to go.
Pierfront Developments was set up by Harry and his wife Sandra in 2007. It is thought their eldest son Mark Redknapp oversees the business on a day-to-day basis.
Myself and my wife have been doing this for 31 years and this has been a bit of a struggle for us.
The company has twice been unsuccessful in applying for planning permission to demolish the Belgravia but has now been granted permission by Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council.
Planning officer Tom Hubbard said: “Sympathy is extended to occupants in this respect but it is understood that the sublease for the existing HMO (house of multiple occupancy) has already been revoked and this does not have significant bearing on planning considerations.
“The loss of HMO accommodation is not resisted in the local plan, however the council’s housing team is aware of the situation.”
Pierfront Developments has been approached for comment.
In December Redknapp was was pictured feeding homeless people at Bournemouth’s Sacred Heart Church just a mile and a half away from the hostel[/caption]
The hotel has been run as homes for vulnerable people with no deposits, references or guarantors since 1988[/caption]
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