RESIDENTS worried about the effect a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) may bring to their street in Carisbrooke have been strongly objecting to a property's change of use.

One even said she did not want to 'needle pick' her garden before she let her children out to play.

Plans have been submitted to the Isle of Wight Council to change the current Castle Lodge guest house, on Castle Road, into a HMO by Two Saints, a homeless not-for-profit service.

The 11-bed HMO would be provided in partnership with the council as part of the homeless pathway, to help reduce rough sleeping and prevent homelessness.

Data obtained by the Guardian in a Freedom of Information request found between April and November last year, the first peak of the pandemic, 996 households approached the council concerned about being homeless — 187 of them already classed as homeless or rough sleeping.

Two Saints said in planning documents, individuals who use the HMO will not be placed directly from the street but have gone through an initial process to determine they are ready to live 'independently and successfully' and not 'negatively impact' the local community.

Each tenant will have a support plan to enable them to work towards personal goals of self-development and will stay between three to 12 months on average while more long-term onward housing solutions are identified.

However, Castle Road residents are concerned having a HMO on the 'quiet' street will bring disturbances, 'could lead to crime' and they would 'fear for the safety of their children' saying the road is not appropriate for that type of housing and it would be 'irresponsible' to put it there due to the demographic of the street.

One objector was concerned the sale of their house, which is next to Castle Lodge, would fall through should the application be approved, with others concerned about property prices.

Another was cautious their attitude was 'sounded snobby' but said: "I am very aware of the less desirable people that frequent Newport and I don't want them living and visiting opposite my house."

Almost 30 objections have been submitted, but only one Castle Road resident has supported the application so far.

He said there was "a danger hateful and inaccurate comments fuelled by a misunderstanding towards homeless people could stop this much-needed facility" and that the homeless are not a criminal class but people who come from all sections of society.

He also said there was no evidence house prices have been affected by nearby social housing and urged the council to approve the change of use to 'do something positive for some of the Island's most vulnerable people'.

Hampshire Constabulary's crime and disorder officer said the police force broadly support the HMO but it is conditional on the tenants 'being at the appropriate stage of recovery to reside there'.

Two Saints has said any type of anti-social behaviour or nuisance in or outside of the property will not be tolerated, with a member of staff present six days a week and CCTV installed.

They said: "We believe the property to be a really good opportunity to change lives and enable people to take new steps on their individual journeys."