Protesters jabbed their fingers and shouted ‘out, out, out!’ at council leader Mike Jones after a decision to locate a homeless hostel in their community was rubber-stamped.
The scene became heated as concerned residents of Boughton and Hoole were leaving the Cheshire West and Chester Council executive meeting at HQ this evening.
Cllr Jones had just seconded a motion to press ahead with converting Richmond Court at Boughton into a 36-bed hub which was passed unanimously.
Cllr Jones riled the 50-strong group of residents when he told them: “I remember being involved with a project for young people coming out of jail - young offenders - and reintroducing them back into the workplace.
“I remember sitting in a meeting and there was a great deal of noise, rudeness and interruption as there is tonight.”
He added: “That project was actually very good at reducing reoffending down to 7% from about 70 or 80%.
“What it demonstrates is that if we are compassionate about working with people we can help people reintegrate into society.”
He added: “Our responsibility as the executive is for making decisions that are right for the borough. It's inevitable that in making those decisions that are right for the borough as a whole, it may not in some circumstances or may impact on an individual group or community.
“In my view this will not impact on your community.”
But residents fear a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour when Richmond Court opens and have argued the current city centre location for homeless services is best.
Campaigner Carol Gahan, who lives in Alma Street, next to the proposed site, told councillors: “Because we dared to stand up for ourselves the leader of the council has insulted and vilified us over the last eight months.”
She said the council was ignoring the results of its own consultation which showed 85% of 900 respondents had rejected Richmond Court as a suitable location.
To rapturous applause, Ms Gahan added: “This is your opportunity to listen to the residents of your borough. You should restore democracy or resign!”