A HOTEL in Johnston is for homeless people, not specifically prison-leavers or being used as a bail hostel Pembrokeshire County Council has clarified.

County councillor Ken Rowlands had raised local concerns about the use of the Silverdale Lodge by the local authority as temporary accommodation for individuals and families who are homeless at overview and scrutiny committee this week.

He said he had been “inundated” with calls and there was increased “community tensions.”

Residents had also aired concerns on social media, and a petition calling for the residents of the Silverdale to be removed has been started, attracting more than 500 signatures to date.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Michelle Bateman said at the meeting on Tuesday (June 23) that the residents were not prison leavers but homeless, adding “the terms are not interchangeable".

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said the authority was aware of community concerns.

“There have been some rumours circulating that the site is being used specifically for prison leavers or as a bail hostel or halfway house, and will bring more people into Pembrokeshire.

“We would seek to reassure the community that our primary focus is to use the site to support people from Pembrokeshire who are faced with homelessness,” he said.

The committee had been told that the lodge had been intend for multi-use by people leaving hospital but demand for homeless provision had been high, especially following the closure of a Pembroke hostel not suitable for social distancing.

“We have encountered some antisocial behaviour from a small number of individuals, who we have been supporting on the site and do not condone this in any way, and we are addressing this with the individuals in line with the latest Welsh Government guidance.

“We can confirm that the county council works closely with Dyfed Powys Police, and whilst we do not have a planned Police presence on the site, we are very grateful to them for their support across the county, and for their proactive work in our communities helping residents adhere to the current requirements in relation to social distancing, travel and behaviour,” added a council spokesman.

Director of social services Jonathan Griffiths said on Tuesday that a “whole new approach to that element of provision” was being developed with Welsh Government fund of £20 million available across the country.

“The council and partners are submitting an ambitious bid to develop a new offer in terms of both temporary accommodation and an enhanced support service,” said a spokesman.