CONCERNED councillors fear proposals to house the homeless in a former sheltered housing complex will attract ex-offenders to Walton.

Tendring Council closed Spendells House, off Naze Park Road, last year in a bid to save cash.

The 30-flat block was built in the early Sixties and had proved to be unpopular for years because of the shared facilities and design.

But plans have now been mooted to covert the dated building to house homeless people.

Some Frinton and Walton town councillors fear the complex will become a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

The proposals have been mooted by Tendring Council after the idea was raised by Walton councillor Delyth Miles.

Mrs Miles said: “We all raised concerns when Spendells House was closing down. We have got a perfectly good building there that just needs a bit of modernising, such as en suites.

“I do a lot of work with the homeless of Walton and we have got four families with eviction orders through no fault of their own.

“I move we should use Spendells to house homeless families – its far better than putting them into hotels.

“It could serve homeless people as a temporary accommodation – this would be an excellent outcome.

“If we don’t help these families it escalates to all sorts of expenses for public services.”

Mrs Miles said she would support the housing of ex-offenders in the block as long as they originate from Tendring.

She called on town councillors to support the principle, but Terry Allen said he feared the block of flats would be turned into a HMO.

“We would need to be very sure of who is going in there,” he said.

“You can’t guarantee it’ll be families and if we get single people, that is when you get offenders and people like that.

“We could get what happened in Harlow when they did the same thing with office blocks.

“They had gangs from one area of London on one floor and another gang from another part of London on another floor – they had mayhem there.

“They should make them all into two-bedroom apartments that would be permanent homes for people – providing more council housing.”

Frinton councillor Nick Turner added that he was “wary” of the plan as single people would bring “baggage” with them and that issues could also spill into his ward.

“The building is absolutely appalling and is not fit for purpose,” he said. “It needs a lot of work done on it.”

“I was quite horrified following a site visit – I came away quite subdued and depressed that we could put people in there in the 21st Century."

The council will now invite Tendring Council’s head of housing to a meeting to discuss the authority’s proposals.

In a letter to the town council, officers said the aim is to put plans before Tendring Council’s cabinet in the “very near future”.

He said: “Over the past year or so various options have been considered and the conclusion reached that the building would work well as a temporary accommodation unit for homeless households.

“The council has seen temporary accommodation placements increase significantly over the last few years and that trend is continuing along with the associated costs.

“Spendells would provide a council owned and run unit that could be managed at a much lower cost than the current provision.

“Those placed into the scheme will be people to whom the council owes a homelessness duty and their stay there will be temporary until more permanent housing is found for them.

“Placements will be predominantly people local to Tendring.”

He added that dedicated staff would also be employed to manage the property and the council’s homelessness team and other support agencies will spend time in the property each day.

Officers aim is to put plans before Tendring Council’s cabinet in the “very near future”.