FURIOUS neighbours have slammed bosses of a homeless hostel after claims that used syringes were found dumped beside a child’s paddling pool.
The Acorn Lodge in Pilrig Street, Leith, is seeking an HMO licence from the Edinburgh City Council, allowing it to house up to 16 tenants.
But a mother in a neighbouring property said she had discovered used needles and other drugs paraphernalia beside her young’s son’s paddling pool in the garden.
Residents have objected over a licence being granted to owners of the premises, which currently caters for 12 people, for the past five years.
A council committee is now set to review the hostel’s licence on Friday, and local people are hopeful it will be refused this time.
In a letter of objection, the landlords of the neighbouring property wrote: “We were absolutely horrified to be contacted a few weeks ago by our tenant who had found discarded hypodermic needles lying beside her young son’s paddling pool and was understandably very upset and distressed.
“The owners of 26 Pilrig Street are apparently unable, or unwilling, to comply with the requirements for operating an HMO for homeless people and by this lack of compliance are not only causing a nuisance but are putting their neighbours at risk.”
Another resident criticised the hostel as looking “shabby” with unwashed windows, peeling paintwork and threadbare carpets, adding staff could not access the garden as the steps were rotting away.
They added: “The management company has admitted to not employing suitably trained staff.
“Some members of staff have stayed for no longer than a couple of days, leaving it unclear who is responsible for the running of the premises.
“From chats with them we understand that their conditions of work are chaotic with little or no support offered.”
Speaking of the discarded needles, they added: “. . . the response by the management company to this serious health risk to the family living there was unsatisfactory, factually incorrect and rude.”
The resident concluded that the applications should also be refused as there were “too many” hostels on Pilrig Street, which was having a negative impact on the area.
“The police come calling regularly and people under the influence are now a common sight.
“While we are very happy to welcome people who need a roof over their head, we object to having three hostels so close together, especially if they are badly run.”
Marc Pimbert, who lives a few doors down from the hostel and has objected to the application, said: “My concern it that two of three years ago they applied for an HMO for eight people and it was turned down.
“Now they want to house 16 residents in what is essentially just a large family house.
“Our concern is the impact that is going to have on the street.
“The property is getting more and more run down – there’s no evidence of any maintenance or improvements.”
A spokesman for Cameron Guest House Group refused to comment.