A CONTROVERSIAL petition to close a house of ‘multiple occupation’ in Blackburn has attracted over 800 supporters who claim it is attracting anti-social behaviour.

A Facebook page calling for the 32-room Shadsworth House in Dunoon Drive to close appeared online last week.

The property was a residential home for the elderly until it was closed and sold by Blackburn with Darwen Council in 1999.

In 2003, Naz Yaseen, of Jay’s Properties, applied for planning permission to convert the building into a homeless hostel. Since then, the house has been the home to people suffering personal crisis but Shadsworth residents said they were concerned that their behaviour is tarnishing the area.

Anthony Holmes, 22, who started the petition said: “I started the petition after my little brother came home frightened after seeing men stood outside injecting themselves. He’s nine years old and I don’t think that is what he should be seeing when he plays outside.

“The people that live in there have problems and they need help, I’m not saying they don’t, but I don’t think they should be living here in the middle of an estate full of families.”

Anthony hopes to present his petition to the council in the next few weeks.

No-one from Jay’s Properties was available for comment but its website states: “We are a voluntary organisation which provides care, support and suppervision with a view of assisting people to be rehabilitated or resettled within the community.

“We provide our residents and any other hostels/ residents locally with health care and resources from NHS staff.”

The house hit the national headlines in 2004, when it was uncovered that a high-risk paedophile had been living at the address.

Angela Gilpin, a 49 year-old mother who supports the petition, said: “Everyone is still afraid of what goes on in there after what happened.”

Some residents however have concerns the petition has an underlying motive, as some posters have included racist and violent rhetoric in their comments.

A police spokeswoman said: “The community has raised concerns about Shadsworth House, however we have only received a few calls in relation to the property.

“The council and police have listened and understood those concerns.

“We have met with partners and are working pro-actively to engage with residents and the landlord.

“We are investigating the issues raised and are committed to finding solutions.

“We would ask the community to continue to share any information or specific concerns with your local councillors, council neighbourhood staff or the police.”

Coun Yusuf Jan-Virmani, executive member for neighbourhoods, housing and customer service, said: “Shadsworth House is under private ownership, and it is currently operating as a house in multiple occupation.

“The council has been made aware of the most recent concerns from local residents and is making further enquiries. ”