FEARS of increased crime and anti-social behaviour has triggered councillors to refuse extension plans at a hostel.

The Ministry of Justice had their application blocked to demolish two garages and extend probation hostel Manor Lodge in Old Windsor to provide three additional bedrooms, a new cycle store, an air source heat pump, and solar panels on the roof.

The lodge, which the Ministry owns and occupies, has been used to provide accommodation to convicted criminals who come from national prisons on license from jail since 1967.

But locals spoke of their fears that three more tenants could lead to more anti-social behaviour that they are experiencing currently.

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Old Windsor resident Peter Marshall told members on the Royal Borough development management panel, explained he and other locals feel “intimidated” by the Manor Lodge occupiers after witnessing them drinking booze outside their homes, rowdy behaviour, public urination, and littering.

Some residents have said they even called the police and blamed “historical failures” on management to deal with anti-social behaviour outside the premises.

Tom Jackson, senior probation officer, said they “strongly believe” an addition of three inmates will not increase anti-social behaviour issues as they are electronically monitored, and have a curfew imposed.

Royal Borough planning officers agreed with Mr Jackson, saying there is “no evidence” to suggest residents will be at increased risk if three more beds are added.

Royal Borough Observer: Layout of the plansLayout of the plans

But ward councillor Lyne Jones said residents have tried living with the probation hostel for years, and increasing its capacity is “not fair” to locals and will increase safety risk within the community.

She said: “The Ministry of Justice will say that every effort will be made to monitor resident’s behaviour – however, that is only possible while there in the premises not when they are out and about in the community.

“They are intentionally moving around our village over 12 hours a day up to 11pm.

“The offender management and oversight within the community is almost non-existent. No village policemen, no community wardens, and a PCSO that is mainly in Datchet and Wraysbury.

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“So, we have no visible police presence at all.”

A slight majority of panel members sided with the residents and decided to rebel against officer recommendations by refusing the scheme.

Five councillors voted for refusal, and four voted against.

The meeting took place on Wednesday, July 21.