The Old Friary on Gordon Road, St. Ann’s will become a homeless shelter after the council approved the proposal for the new centre, to be funded and supported by Emmanuel House.

At a planning committee meeting at Loxley House, on February 21, 2024, which was attended by members of Nottingham City Council, Emmanuel House Support Centre, and parents of children at Our Lady & St. Edward Primary & Catholic Voluntary Academy and Blue Bell Hill primary school, the plan was given the go ahead.

Following the meeting a statement from council said: “GRANT PLANNING PERMISSION subject to conditions substantially in the form listed in the draft decision notice at the end of this report, with power to determine the final details of the conditions to be delegated to the Director of Planning and Transport”.

The plan has caused controversy with parents and neighbours upset about the fact the centre is near two primary schools in the area. They say they have safety concerns.

When the proposal was first launched a petition was signed for and against it, with 295 signatures in support of the scheme, and 215 signatures opposed.

Did you know?

  • Nottingham has the highest rate of homelessness in the East Midlands.

  • In 2022, there would have been 1614 people reported as homeless.

Parents from Our Lady & St. Edward Primary school said the main concern was that the school shares a fence and alleyway with the Friary.

A Facebook Group called ‘THE OLD FRIARY APPEAL GROUP’ has been keeping members updated on the process and submitted an objection letter to be considered by the committee.

In the letter they wrote: “I want to start by stating the residents in and around Gordon road, who have young families, want to make it clear that they are NOT against housing the homeless.

“In terms of immunities – this will be largely compromised. Open park spaces, a pub, gathering outside the Church. It is the view that although assisted support will be indoors, nothing will be available outdoors”.

Maria Mafys is a member of the Facebook group. Her comments were similar to many posted by others.

“I am happy people wanting to get help and needing help and support but I do not support this being right next to a school.

“This is a safeguarding risk to our children and community. Children will be at risk on a daily and so will parents and residents around the area,” she wrote on the page.

As part of the consultation period, Dennis Tully, Chief Executive officer of Emmanuel House responded to concerns on behalf of the charity.

“The second concern is around the proximity of a school. We address this issue but it is of note that Emmanuel House has provided similar accommodation for up to 30 people in past yeas beside schools and presently in the vicinity of a nursery.

“Since the provision in 2012 we have never had a complaint from either the communities or the schools,” he wrote.

‘I would like to see more money put in the community to make it better NOT DEPRIVED’

– Ethel Anderson

The homeless shelter is set to open in 2027.