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Norwich YMCA plans in the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:53 02 July 2010

YMCA plans

YMCA plans

Tracey Gray

Proposals to redevelop a historic Norwich city centre hostel which provides accommodation and care for young men go under the spotlight this week.

Proposals to redevelop a historic Norwich city centre hostel which provides accommodation and care for young men go under the spotlight this week.

Bosses at YMCA Norfolk are hoping to replace their current 90-bed hostel in St Giles Street with 40 new bedsit flats, which would provide 'move on' accommodation for those who have previously lived at the YMCA's intensive assessment centre, in All Saints Green, Norwich.

The proposals, which need listed building consent, also include creating new training, interview and office rooms as well as a communal lounge office, kitchen and a 32-space cycle store, and demolishing an existing gymnasium.

Planning officers have recommended the application, which will be discussed by Norwich City Council's planning applications committee on Thursdayfor approval.

However, concerns have been raised by one local resident who claims there is anti-social behaviour in the area and the new plans for the site may worsen the situation.

Planning officers addressed the concerns in a report saying: “The use of the site for YMCA accommodation is well established and it is considered that the proposals represent an enhancement to the character of this part of the conservation area and to the setting of the two grade-II listed buildings on the site.

“Given the decrease in the number of units on the site and improved on site facilities, it is considered that any impact would be reduced.”

Norfolk Police have said the plans, which include creating an entrance off Bethel Street, will provide reception staff with good natural surveillance and an awareness of callers' identity, but had some reservations about the location of the cycle store in the corner of a courtyard.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, said: “This is an absolute necessity to support young people in the community who are homeless and vulnerable, it is absolutely vital for Norwich as there is a desperate need for accommodation for young people.”

In November last year the Evening News reported how the £4.2m plans had taken a major step forward with a cash injection of £2.25m from the Homes and Communities Agency.

The planning applications committee will start at 10am at City Hall.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? If so contact reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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