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Seventy students could move into closed Norwich care home if conversion gets green light

PUBLISHED: 11:50 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:00 07 November 2017

The former Somerley care home, in Somerleyton Street, Norwich.
 Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The former Somerley care home, in Somerleyton Street, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A former care home could get a new lease of life and join the ever growing number of Norwich buildings being converted into student accommodation.

Plans have been lodged with Norwich City Council to convert the former Somerley Care Home, off Unthank Road, so it can become a home for 70 students.

The care home had been run by Norfolk County Council’s arms-length company Norse Care, but shut last year because residents were being moved to the £19m Bowthorpe Care Village.

The site, in Somerleyton Gardens, was put on the market for £1m and sold for £1.1m.

Applicant Prabodh Devlukia is hoping members of the city council’s planning committee will give his conversion plans the go-ahead when they meet in City Hall on Thursday.

Documents lodged with the council by agents Lanpro, on behalf of the applicant, state: “The provision of student accommodation helps to support the local economy and the local education institutions.

“It is also accepted that increasing the amount of student accommodation in the city will release more private housing stock back into the general market.”

The current layout of the former care home would be largely unchanged, with clusters of student bedrooms sharing kitchens and communal rooms.

The accommodation would be car free, apart from a limited number of spaces for staff based in the building. There would be space to store 40 bicycles, while the drop off/pick off of students at the start and end of term would be done in the car park.

There have been half a dozen objections to the proposal. Neighbours have expressed concerns including over noise, traffic, litter, that the nearby Unthank Road bus stop will become busier and that there are too many students in the area.

But officers are recommending approval. In the report, which will come before councillors, officers say: “It is recognised that the area has a relatively high concentration of student properties due to the proximity to the university.

“However, it is considered that a properly managed student accommodation block such as this will be a positive addition to the area, not least because it will ease pressure on conversion of dwellings to houses in multiple occupation.”

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