Plans for new youth housing scheme in Aylsham set to be given green light despite objections

A proposal for a new housing scheme in Aylsham which will help young homeless people is set to be given the green light despite a raft of objections.

Plans have been put forward for eight one-bedroom flats to be built along Station Road, adjacent to the Bure Valley Railway, (BVR) and on the site of a car park owned by Broadland District Council, which planning officers have estimated will result in the loss of 19 car parking spaces.

Seven of the flats will be occupied by 16-24-year-olds on maximum tenancies of two years, and the remaining flat would be occupied by an adult support worker, who would be present 24 hours a day.

The plans, which have been recommended for approval by planning officers, are set to be discussed by Broadland District Council's planning committee tomorrow.

They have been put forward by the Flagship Housing Group, but once the flats have been constructed, Victory Housing Trust will take over the ownership and management.

In a planning report, the council's housing development officer said: 'The supported housing scheme aims to give young people from the area the safety and stability to complete their transition to adulthood.'

They said the need for the proposed scheme was indicated by the council's housing register, which in September last year listed 345 single young people aged 16-24.

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But the plans have raised concerns in many quarters, particularly from some of the elderly residents who live in Bure Valley House, a 46-unit sheltered housing complex which boarders the application site, and others living nearby.

Residents also said they were concerned about possible anti-social behaviour from those staying in the flats and the loss of car parking spaces.

Members of Aylsham Town Council said that although they supported the scheme in general, the proposed site was 'totally inappropriate'.

Objections to the application have also been made by an agent acting on behalf of the railway, which claims the development will also affect its business.

But planning officers have said all prospective residents would be assessed before being given one of the flats and also, with regard to car parking, no spaces would be specifically designated to the flats, and instead these would be shared with visitors to the BVR, which does not operate an all year round service, and the town.

They said there will also be CCTV around the flats, and that they had looked at the possibility of using alternative sites, but no other suitable ones had been found.

Officers said: 'Regard has been given to objections raised by members of the local community in reaching the officer recommendation, but it is ultimately considered that this application represents an acceptable form of development.'