Former Yarmouth hotel set to become youth hostel

Plans to transform a run-down Norfolk hotel into a YMCA youth hostel have been recommended for approval.

The proposal to make the Two Bears Hotel in Great Yarmouth into a 20-bed YMCA youth hostel will be formally decided at a Great Yarmouth Borough Council meeting tomorrow (December 13).

YMCA Norfolk wants to turn the hotel on Pasteur Road, Cobholm, into flats for 18 to 24 year olds with a community caf� and youth and community work activities.

However, the site has come under scrutiny from people who live and work near the site which backs onto gardens of homes on Heritage Mews and is next to a nursery.

In an objection letter to Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Kim Marshall, nursery director of Cobholm and Lichfield Childcare Centre, wrote: 'I am accountable for the safe guarding of all the children within the centre, of which we have 99 on register.

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'If this application for a youth hostel is granted it poses potential risks to all the children and families living in the immediate vicinity and could possibly affect the whole community.

'I have to explore all potential safety risks and I believe the children will be vulnerable and child protection issues will arise in the form of children being exposed to inappropriate behaviour, observation, potential use of cameras and/or mobile phones.'

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Meanwhile, objection letters have also been sent in from people living nearby who fear a hostel will reduce parking. Lorraine Secker, Queens Place, Cobholm, wrote: 'The redevelopment would greatly increase the flow of traffic which would cause further congestion to a family residential area.'

However, a regional director at the YMCA moved has dampened concerns over the anti-social behaviour issue by making it clear that young people will only go to the hostel if they have proved they can live independently.

Mary Ives, area director for YMCA Norfolk, wrote: 'This will be part of the individual pathway plans to ensure that young people are able to successfully live independently. They will only be moved to Two Bears if they have evidenced their ability to live independently through our independent living tool.' If approved the YMCA would move into the building in June 2012. The proposal, recommended for approval by officers, will go before the development control committee at Great Yarmouth Town Hall, Council Chamber, on Tuesday December 13 at 6.30pm.

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