Residents are furious at plans to turn a Motherwell hotel into a residential centre for people who have suffered an addiction or homelessness.
An international charity wants the former Old Mill Hotel to become a training facility for individuals “anxious to rebuild their lives”.
However, people who live in the area say they will fear for their children’s safety if it goes ahead. An online petition against the idea has gathered more than 250 signatures.
Residents are also angry at North Lanarkshire Council, which is considering the planning application by Betel UK, for not consulting them about the plan. The first they knew was when the Times ran a story earlier this month.
Betel aims to “offer hope and hospitality to those people in society who can easily find themselves in despair, anxious to rebuild their lives but lacking in the resources to achieve this”.
It is “dedicated to restoring homeless, addicted and long-term unemployed people to healthy, independent lifestyles”. Working with Government bodies, private charities and Christian organisations, it trains men and women in a “wide range of life and employment skills”.
Elaine Morris, who launched the protest petition on change.org, branded the proposal “an absolute disgrace”.
In an objection to the council, she wrote: “This place could be made better use of for something like a community/play centre for kids as there is not much for them to do around here.
“Maybe then they wouldn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, and there would be no need for such a place.”
Another objector wrote: “I am all for rehabilitation, but not in a residential area. All the children in this area play down about the Old Mill. Parents are worried enough about our children without this.”
Another resident feared the facility would bring drug dealers to the area as they would see the training centre residents as “easy prey”.
And another objector suggested Betel wouldn’t have to look far to find a more suitable alternative, pointing out: “There is a massive area of waste land at the old Ravenscraig site where they could build a place out of the way of families.”
Hower, a Church of England vicar supporting the plan praised Betel, saying residents benefitted communities with gardening and furniture restoration.