Logo

New homeless hub WILL open after court rejects neighbours’ pleas

PUBLISHED: 06:15 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 19 March 2020

The homeless hub will open next to the Greek Orthodox Church on Recorder Road, Norwich. Photo: Norwich

The homeless hub will open next to the Greek Orthodox Church on Recorder Road, Norwich. Photo: Norwich

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Neighbours have failed in a last-ditch attempt to stop a homeless hub opening in Norwich.

Residents in the area protested against the hub opening. Photo: ArchantResidents in the area protested against the hub opening. Photo: Archant

A plan to transform a former office on Recorder Road into a temporary base for up to 16 homeless people had sparked fierce opposition from neighbours worried about an increase in crime.

It is opening next to a church and near an elderly residential home. Police had previously warned about it attracting drug dealers.

But the city council’s planning committee approved the plans from charity St Martins Housing Trust in October.

The project, which is commissioned by council and delivered by St Martins, was then delayed because of an appeal against the committee’s decision.

The scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon. Picture: St MartinsThe scheme is being delivered by St Martins Housing Trust. Pictured is chief executive Dr Jan Sheldon. Picture: St Martins

That appeal failed, but a judicial review was also filed with the High Court which has now been rejected.

The council said the lease on the building was due to be signed this week, meaning it could open in six weeks’ time, depending on the situation with coronavirus.

But a spokesman for the Recorder Road Community Group said it should be delayed.

You may also want to watch:

“The hostel will provide 16 sleeping cubicles in very close proximity and two shared toilets so infection would quickly spread through the hostel,” they said.

“This was pointed out by an NHS worker to Norwich City Council before planning permission was given.

“The homeless and St Martins’ staff deserve better, so we are surprised in the present climate that St Martins still consider this cramped location as suitable.”

The group also claimed there were “irregularities” on the application form to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for £400,000 to fund the scheme.

The form, from the city council, stated the hostel could be operational by the start of August, but the planning committee did not meet until September.

The criteria also said planning permission must already be in place or imminent.

A city council spokesman said the service had been ready in October, before the delays.

A St Martins’ spokesman said the MHCLG had been kept up to date with the delays.

They added: “This was not a decision which was influenced by the council or St Martins.

“It was based upon the need for such a service in Norwich.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Norwich Evening News. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Norwich Evening News