AN ALLEGED lack of transparency over plans for the reopening of an ex-offenders’ hostel in Winchester has been raised at the Winchester Town Forum.

Alleyne House on Hyde Street is proposed to reopen after it was purchased by a former High-Sheriff Mark Thistlethwayte.

However, residents have been angered at the level of consultation given concerns over a potential increase in crime.

Teresa Skelton, of Hyde Close, raised the issue at the forum. She told councillors: “I don’t have a problem with offenders even if it is at the bottom of my street. Everybody has to be given a chance. I have every confidence that Alleyne House will be properly run, but I do have an issue with transparency and why no proper consultation.”

“Mr Thistlethwayte is quoted as saying he has been working with Winchester City Council for over a year. Big deal. That means nothing to local residents who haven’t been told what’s been going on.”

Ms Skelton, who stood for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party in the city council elections last month, added: “I have no confidence in the police because I know the crime commissioner is not able to call the chief constable to order. She is... a law unto herself.

“Likewise the local MP doesn’t want to take on anything. He turns up for photocalls, especially in the Hampshire Chronicle.

“I want to thank Cllr Dominic Hiscock, the only person to show a sense of responsibility and understanding to the local residents.”

The facility at Alleyne House is set to be run by charity Trinity Winchester. Professor Nigel Wood, one of the most vocal campaigners against the facility, has since written to the charity’s chairman of trustees, Peter North, in a letter seen by the Chronicle.

Prof Wood said: “I am writing in the hope that you may be able to bring some influence to bear on Mark Thistlethwayte with regard to his plan to re-open Alleyne House in Hyde Street, as a hostel for ex-offenders.

“I have many concerns about the proposal, but one is the reputational damage that it could cause to Trinity Winchester, through its close involvement with the scheme.

“I have unbounded admiration for Trinity’s work in Winchester, where I have lived for 35 years, but this latest venture is causing great concern in the city.

“I believe Mark Thistlethwayte to be a generous benefactor with a real wish to help ex-offenders. The kind of hostel he imagines, with Trinity’s skilled and established partnership, could well be successful at another site – but certainly not through the re-opening of Alleyne House.”

In response, Sue McKenna, chief executive of Trinity Winchester, said: “Trinity Winchester, which has more than 30 years’ experience in supporting homeless and vulnerable people in Winchester, has been invited to manage the new housing provision at Alleyne House in Hyde Street.

“Our experience and local knowledge mean that Trinity is confident that exceptional service will be provided for residents and the local neighbourhood.

“The residents will be actively encouraged to be good neighbours.

“Trinity understands the concerns of residents in the Hyde Street area and is committed to providing a good, safe and well-run housing scheme that does not impact upon neighbours.

“I have already met local resident Nigel Wood to discuss his concerns and to open a good line of communication for all.”