Plans for affordable flats for rough sleepers approved despite concerns

Location of six proposed affordable rent flats

The six proposed flats have to be built by March - Credit: Google Street View

The proposal to turn land near a housing trust into affordable flats for rough sleepers has been approved by Norwich City Council, despite local opposition.  

Six one-bedroom flats will be built on land north of Lakenfields, close to Webster Court which houses people aged over 50 who have experienced homelessness. 

The plan was developed as part of the government’s Covid-19 response strategy to deal with rough sleepers, in conjunction with the Broadland housing association. 

The housing association has said it is proposing to offer the flats for affordable rent.  

Overhead view of the proposed site

The flats would be built north of Lakenfield - Credit: Google Maps

Maria Hammond, the case officer, told the council planning committee that the flats would be spread across three stories and offer three car parking spaces and bicycle storage.  

Ms Hammond said: "The government funding which has been made available for this project has a very short timescale associated with it. 

"And will actually require delivery of this project by the end of March this year." 

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In order to meet the tight timescale, the building will be modular construction. 

Five objections were made against the plans, with residents raising concerns about a lack of notice for the plans, the proposal being out of keeping with the surrounding area and the lack of attempts to make it an eco-build. 

One resident was concerned that ambulances frequently use the end of the street and describing parking the in area as “notoriously poor”. 

They said: “I support the building of affordable housing in and around Norwich, but six single bed apartments feels a little ambitious for what is basically a small car park.” 

Adding that it would be better to scale the development down to a two-storey build. 

At the planning meeting, councillor Ian Stutely said the area needed properties of this kind and praised modular buildings as an environmentally friendly way forward for house construction. 

Jane Sarmezey agreed: "I think it is a great initiative and let's hope we can get some people that are rough sleeping accommodated sooner rather than later." 

The proposal passed unanimously. 

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