CONTENTIOUS plans to build 24 flats for homeless people at a former community centre site in Poole have come under fire from concerned neighbours.

Poole Housing Partnership, the organisation that manages some of BCP Council's public housing stock, has lodged proposals for the flats, which will provide temporary accommodation for homeless people until permanent housing can be found.

The application has been submitted for the former Bourne Valley Community Centre site, off Herbert Avenue – a plot bordering St Joseph's Catholic Primary School's playing fields.

In an email sent to BCP Council's planning department setting out the school's opposition to the scheme, St Joseph's headteacher Neil McDermott voiced his concerns.

Mr Dermott said: "The site is adjacent to our school field.

"I am concerned that the two-storey buildings will overlook our playing fields. I have safeguarding concerns as residents, at second storey level, will look over young children during their sports lessons.

"I am unsure what will be put in place as a boundary fence between development and our site.

"Currently we have an eight foot panelled green metal fence which can be seen through. The new development will need a high fence which is not see-through."

Latest figures from Shelter report at least 320,000 people are homeless across the country, either rough sleeping or in temporary accommodation.

Last month the Echo reported how rough sleeping figures in Bournemouth had doubled since the previous year, although it is understood some of the current 58 people who appear to be rough sleeping do have homes to return to.

Plans at Herbert Avenue are for a range of one, two and three bedroom flats, with self-contained bathrooms, kitchens and living facilities.

There will also be a communal laundry, storage areas, external landscaping and parking on the 0.3-hectare site.

Scores of residents have lodged opposition to the scheme.

Jo Keating, of Herbert Avenue, said: "The local community have had no time to respond to these proposals. I have sent letters to the residents, none of them were aware of it.

"Often with homelessness you have things that go hand-in-hand with it like addiction.

"We have communal areas that could not be as safe as they previously were. People are looking to support drug habits. It is not going to have a positive impact on the community."

Meanwhile, neighbour David Watson said: "I cannot understand how this development can be deemed suitable considering the location and the nature of the area.

"This is likely to introduce significant antisocial behaviour and make it potentially unsafe for people to walk through the area."

And neighbour Charlene Miles says it is "crazy" to build a scheme like this next to a primary school.

She added: "This plan puts our children at risk of finding drug paraphernalia, being subjected to drunk people and seeing things children should not see."