A FORMER care home for people with mental health issues is set to be converted into a centre to house the homeless.

Shamrock Villas is looking to convert its two homes, Connemara Lodge, in Kirby-le-Soken, and Meadowview Lodge, in Jaywick, into facilities for homeless people.

Connemara Lodge operates out of Brick Barn, in Walton Road.

Under the plans to change the use of the building, submitted to Tendring Council, the firm said it would offer a “well-managed” home for up to eight people.

A report written in support of an application said: “Current services, as good as they are, are not meeting all the homeless people’s needs.

“The people most likely to miss out are the those with multiple or complex needs.

“Due to our vast knowledge gained while working in the care industry for the last 12 years, with mental health issues, we are aware that there is a complex relationship between homelessness and health.”

The Kirby site would offer first aid training, careers advice, financial advice and drug and alcohol awareness sessions.

The company says it has discussed the plans with the council’s rough sleeping co-ordinator, Essex Police, homeless service Phoenix Futures, ambulance services and GPs.

But neighbours have questioned whether Kirby-le-Soken is an appropriate place to open a homelessness centre.

Carer Natalie Savage said: “I object to this application on behalf of the lady I care for, who is totally blind and nearly 80.

“She lives near this residence and rehoming homeless people with drink and drug issues will be a severe problem for her – she is so worried already and it’s causing her such distress.

“She moved to have a nice calm life by the sea, not police visits and trouble on her doorstep.

“I do appreciate these homeless people need help, but Kirby-le-Soken village definitely is not the right location.

“All the residents are up in arms.”

Nikki Faber, who managed both homes, said there would be no issues with drink, drugs or anti-social behaviour.

She said: “Everyone needs a chance in life.

“I’m so passionate about this project. If anything goes wrong with either centre then I will shut them down. It is that simple.

“If there are any issues which effect any nearby residents I will shut them down and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

“Anyone can become homeless, it isn’t limited to drink and drug issues.”

Connemara Lodge and Meadowview remained in special measures earlier this year after the Care Quality Commission found them to be “inadequate”.

Ms Faber said she had lodged a complaint with the watchdog, branding their criticism “unfair”.

Tendring Council will have the final say.