Green light to turn former Norwich care home into housing for nearly 70 students

PUBLISHED: 11:25 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 09 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

A former care home in Norwich is to be turned into accommodation for nearly 70 students.

The conversion of what used to be Somerley Care Home, off Unthank Road, was agreed today by Norwich City Council.

Members of City Hall’s planning committee granted applicant Prabodh Devlukia permission to convert the building for 66 students.

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 pair 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 had been half a dozen objections to the proposal. Neighbours had 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 recommended approval, saying the applicant had been “very co-operative” to address such issues, with a 24 hour manager on the site.

Extra space for people waiting at the bus stop will be created on the green space at the front of the building.

The committee members all agreed to grant permission, except for Labour’s David Bradford.

He said he could not support it, as he would rather it could become housing for older people.

He said: “A lot of older people would have given an arm and a leg to have accommodation in the middle of the city, in a neighbourhood they know.

“I know we have lost the battle, but I cannot, in all conscience, vote for this.”

Liberal Democrat James Wright said while it was “lamentable” that a city centre care home had gone, the plans made sense.

And Labour’s Marion Maxwell said converting the care home for students could free up other homes currently used by students for families.

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.

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