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Homeless hostel sold to developer

PUBLISHED: 13:10 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:52 07 September 2010

A HOSTEL blamed for a rise in crime and disorder in Highgate has been closed down by Haringey Council. The Grade-II listed Morven House on North Hill, which was being used as a hostel for homeless and vulnerable people, will now be sold off

Ben McPartland

A HOSTEL blamed for a rise in crime and disorder in Highgate has been closed down by Haringey Council.

The Grade-II listed Morven House on North Hill, which was being used as a hostel for homeless and vulnerable people, will now be sold off to developers.

The closure has come as a relief to some residents who have blamed the occupants for rising levels of anti-social behaviour in the area.

The Highgate Society's Robin Fairlie said: "I am not sorry in one sense because there have been some problems with it. But one does wonder what is going to happen to these people who are being moved out.

"However, what I'm more concerned about is what is going to happen next. When the hostel is sold off the Highgate Society wants a condition of sale which states the building must be preserved. Whoever buys it should have to restore it and we will be urging the council to take that attitude."

Last August a brawl involving a resident from the hostel ended with a man being stabbed twice in a nearby newsagent.

The hostel used to be a refuge for female victims of domestic violence but more recently it was used to house homeless people before they could find permanent accommodation.

Neighbours reported a rise in drug dealing, vandalism and graffiti in the area, which they blamed on some of the occupants of Morven House.

One neighbour who asked to remain anonymous said: "I am just very relieved it's shut. The council was only checking on the people who lived there about once a week.

"Some of the people living there were really nice but they were vulnerable because of the others. One of the reasons why burglary rates have been so high is because the people there were robbing from each other's flats. I don't care what Haringey say, they got rid of the place because people began asking questions about it."

A spokesman for Haringey Council said they had decided to sell off the mansion because the accommodation at the hostel did not meet modern standards.

He said: "The high cost of converting it to permanent family accommodation is considered to be uneconomic and the property has therefore been identified for disposal. The property has been earmarked for disposal during 2008 and this has been approved by the council's cabinet. The residents have been re-housed in accordance with their needs, prior to a sale with vacant possession."

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk


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