ELDERLY residents, schoolchildren and small businesses would be at risk if the conversion of a pub into sheltered accommodation goes ahead, neighbours have said.

Dozens of Farnworth residents are expected to object to the planning application submitted by Green Pastures CBS, a Southport-based charity which equips churches to house the homeless.

They fear that the proposed development would attract drug addicts, ex-convicts or current offenders to the area.

The Kings Arms Hotel in Plodder Lane, which could be converted into supported living accommodation, a community cafe and one self-contained flat, is located opposite a primary school and a caravan storage yard.

Debra Mather, who has run Plodder Lane Storage for ten years, has had problems with travellers on her site in the past.

Now she is worried that this proposal will drive her out of business as security of the site is put at risk.

She said: “We run a business across the road that is based on trust and reputation as we store and look after peoples high value goods. We feel that with opening of a housing for homeless and a cafe open all day till 9pm will attract the wrong kind of people that we strongly believe will have a negative impact on our business and our turnover.

“We also feel that the proposed occupants will cause an element of distrust and intimation in the local community especially as there are a large number of elderly residents directly facing the applicants address and I feel that it would be grossly unfair of the council to punish or cause fear in the elderly residents day to day lives."

She added: “I’ve got the greatest sympathy with genuine homeless people. What I object to is that it’s not in the right area."

Green Pastures CBS has been contacted for comment.