LABOUR opposition leader Justin Madders claims homeless people are being farmed out from Chester to Ellesmere Port because the new homeless service can’t cope.

Chester Aid to the Homeless closed its eight-bed Crispin House emergency shelter after Foundation Enterprises won the contract to run homeless services across the borough including the controversial Richmond Court super hub in Boughton.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has now admitted some homeless people are staying at Stoak Lodge in Ellesmere Port but say this is down to the personal choice of clients.

Cllr Madders, who represents Ellesmere Port Town ward, said: “The suggestion this is personal choice is nonsense! As the consortium haven’t got a contingency plan because of the Richmond Court controversy they have had to fall back on the use of the council’s old facility in Ellesmere Port, a facility that was due to be closed because it was no longer up to modern standards.”

Cllr Madders, who understands Richmond Court won’t be ready until September if approved, added: “It is ironic that this facility is now central to their plans. I understand that Foundation intend to use the facility in Ellesmere Port until Richmond Court is ready and have no alternative should the council decide not to proceed with Richmond Court.”

Council spokeswoman Laura Johnson said: “Foundation Enterprises North West, working with Chester Aid to the Homeless, Chester Women’s Hostel Association and other organisations, has assessed over 100 service users over the last month as part of mobilisation plans for service users.

“This detailed service user information was necessary to ensure the commitment to ensuring that no one spends a night on the streets in West Cheshire is honoured.

“The assessments identified a small number of individuals who, through their own personal choice and aspirations, were keen to be accommodated across the Foundation Enterprises North West partnership provision and a small number of service users took the opportunity to move to Ellesmere Port.”