Calls for CCTV and alley-gates to protect people plagued by homeless hostel



Calls are being made for extra CCTV and gates to block off alleyways after a council’s controversial decision to keep a homeless hostel open for six more months.

Residents and businesses have told how they are living in fear due to anti-social behaviour, drug-taking and drinking linked to Lily Gertrude Simister Court, in Tunstall.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has agreed to keep the centre open until March.

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Now Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis wants the CCTV and alley-gates to better protect his constituents.

In a letter to council leader Abi Brown, Mr Gullis said: “As you will be aware from my representations on behalf of constituents and businesses in Tunstall, anti-social behaviour, drug use and drinking in the vicinity of the building are serious and unacceptable issues that are negatively impacting the local community.

“I appreciate that a considerable number of issues experienced by the local community have been caused by individuals from outside the area. However, ultimately it is clear that Lily Gertrude is a large factor in attracting such people and as long as it remains open it will continue to disrupt lives, blight the town and damage trade.

“I am asking that the council invests in additional emergency CCTV to monitor activity at all times of the day and assesses the alleyways where people gather the most to install gates wherever possible.”

Sixteen residents are currently being supported at Lily Gertrude.

Mrs Brown said: “Lily Gertrude has been successful as a model to date, but I don’t believe this is where we want to go to moving forward.

“Coming out of Covid-19 when we took hundreds of people off the street, and a great many of them were supported into accommodation, this really was the best solution at the time.

“Maintaining Lily Gertrude through the winter will ensure that there is, once again, no reason for anyone to be rough sleeping in Stoke-on-Trent.”

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