THANK you for your article highlighting Trull residents’ concerns over the future of housing homeless people at Canonsgrove on a permanent basis.

I am a resident of Staplehay who fully supported the government initiative to address the issues of people who find themselves homeless.

However, having lived for a year on the frontline, dealing with the fallout of the Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) decision to use a rural village location to provide housing, I cannot accept Cllr Fran Smith’s comment, that "the complaints we have received are in relation to a small number of clients".

READ MORE: Opposition to Canonsgrove being used as long-term homeless hostel

There have been 38 reported police incidents and a further 85 anti-social resident incidents related to Canonsgrove since September 2020, 122 in total.

This does not include the reports to the police that came directly from Canonsgrove.

The incidents include burglary, persistent drug dealing, trespassing, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

There have been numerous Covid-19 breaches on the local bus and in the local shop, which provide vital services for our Covid-vulnerable, elderly village residents.

Given that a substantial number of the people found responsible have been evicted from Canonsgrove, it cannot be claimed that a small number of people are responsible for the fear and anxiety that has been brought to village residents.

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After nearly 12 months, Cllr Smith has finally acknowledged that there are significant issues that need addressing robustly, quite a change from the false reports she made to her Executive Committee trivialising our incidents.

Would Cllr Smith be prepared to meet with village residents to hear their legitimate concerns?

SWT needs to be transparent about the failings of this facility. It needs to provide information that allows it to be evaluated accurately.

It needs to listen to the many knowledgeable professionals who say a rural location is the wrong place to support people, often with very complex needs, back into housing and society.

Other towns, cities and accommodation providers choose central sites, close to services and vital support networks.

Why does SWT think it knows better?