Controversial homeless shelter is ‘right thing to do’ says Worthing’s police commander

The new homeless shelter has divided opinion, but Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell (right) supports it
The new homeless shelter has divided opinion, but Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell (right) supports it

A controversial homeless shelter in Worthing has been backed by police district commander Miles Ockwell.

Since it was opened in April, the 38-bed temporary accommodation building in Lyndhurst Road has divided opinion, with some local residents saying they are afraid.

Steve Hodges, project manager for Roffey Homes, April Baker homelessness services manager with WCHP and John Holmstrom, chief executive outside the building in Lyndhurst Road. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Steve Hodges, project manager for Roffey Homes, April Baker homelessness services manager with WCHP and John Holmstrom, chief executive outside the building in Lyndhurst Road. Picture: Kate Shemilt

However Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, who serves as district commander for Worthing, Adur and Horsham, is a staunch supporter of the venture.

He told the Herald: “We are very supportive of the new hostel that was opened as a means of providing a long-term solution to some of the challenges that we have around this town in terms of homelessness.

“I do understand there have been concerns raised by the local community about a potential increase in crime in that immediate area since Lyndhurst Road was opened.”

READ MORE: Charity ‘working to resolve concerns’ over homeless accommodation unit in Worthing

Ch Insp Ockwell admitted that there had been some increased reports of drug dealing in nearby Homefield Park, but said police have put a ‘quite significant’ number of additional policing into that area.

The venture is being run by Worthing Churches Homeless Projects (WCHP), after developer Roffey Homes offered the building to them for use as a shelter.

The district commander also said that since the hostel was opened police have seen ‘really good numbers’ for anti-social behaviour and crime in the town centre.

Ch Insp Ockwell added: “We are not going to resolve the homelessness problem if we do not give homeless people somewhere to live.

“It was never going to be a roaring success on day one, but it was the right thing to do.

“We work very closely with the council and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.

“Definitely in my opinion a positive move for the town.”

READ MORE: Police chief hails significant progress in fight against drug dealing gangs in Adur and Worthing

What do you think? Email your views to michael.drummond@jpress.co.uk