PLANS to turn a former village care home for people with mental health issues into a hostel for the homeless has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The Loyalty Project has applied to Tendring Council for change of use at the former Brick Barn Residential Care Home, in Walton Road, Kirby-le-Soken.

Previous plans by Shamrock Villas last year looked to turn the building into facilities for homeless people, but the plans were later withdrawn.

Plans for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) were also rejected last year.

Neighbours questioned whether Kirby-le-Soken was an appropriate place to open a homelessness centre, although the former manager of the site said there would be no issues with drink, drugs or anti-social behaviour.

The new application, which includes internal alterations reducing the current accommodation from 15 bedrooms to nine, was due to be debated by Tendring Council’s planning committee in July, but the item was removed from the agenda to allow for further information to be provided by the developer.

The latest plan, which will go before the planning committee on August 11, has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

A report said: "Given the current shortage of affordable homes in the district, facilities such as this play a vital role in providing short term accommodation for sections of society, which is supported by national policy.

"The proposed use will see a reduction in rooms seeking to provide accommodation for up to nine residents on a medium term basis of between six months to two years.

"This will in turn reduce the number of associated comings and goings and associated traffic movements when compared with the current lawful use, thus lessening the potential for any noise or disturbance to neighbouring properties."

Frinton and Walton Town Council has opposed the plans as "unsuitable" for a village setting and 28 letters of objection were received by the district council.

Chris Walters said Kirby-le-Soken Village Preservation Society had also opposed the change of use.

Ms Walters said: "Occupants of this property have previously caused disturbance to the village residents.

"It is no place for lost souls to wander aimlessly or sit on a bench and drink alcohol by the shop and bus stop.

"There is no casual work available nor is there entertainment. Bus transport links to access education facilities are poor and the railway station is some distance away.

"This is not the village for a business of this type, which would be far better situated in a more urban area."