143-bed city centre HMO condemned by neighbours
- Credit: George Thompson
Plans for a 143 bed HMO in the city centre have been condemned by neighbours who have raised noise and privacy concerns.
An application to convert Boar's Head and the Westlegate buildings off St Stephen's Street in Norwich city centre has drawn a series of objections.
Property developer JaeVee wants to convert the space above the ground floor into housing, with the addition of a two-storey extension and rooftop bar or restaurant area.
The site will also offer a range of onsite amenities, including a gym, library, cinema room, games room and coffee lounge.
Objections have come from neighbours, including the chairman of the Westlegate Residents Association (WTRA) and insurance company Aviva.
One neighbour said they were already having troubles sleeping due to noise in the area and excessive noise could worsen their existing health condition.
"I have owned and lived in my property at Westlegate Tower for seven years," they said.
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"During that time, I have developed a sleeping disorder and associated health problems caused by noise on Westlegate.
Adding: "This application puts my health and sanity at severe risk as it will inevitably lead to the congregation of revellers directly opposite my bedroom window."
Others objected on privacy grounds, with Kamal Giwa, writing on behalf of Aviva, saying it could block their light and allow people to see into their offices.
The chairman of the WTRA was concerned more development could lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour.
Responding to residents' concerns, Sam Sterry, head of acquisition at JaeVee, stressed the development was designed with professionals in mind.
He said an on-site 24/7 management team, including security, would help to mitigate noise and antisocial behaviour.
"This development is a unique proposition to Norwich which also caters for the current undersupply issue.
"With regards to noise, there are already multiple student blocks on the same road and immediate area.
"Furthermore, the development will be designed with the appropriate noise mitigation measures.
"In the immediate vicinity, most of the buildings are commercial therefore making this site an ideal spot for residential development.
"The addition of the rooftop restaurant and bar makes sense from a location point of view when taking into account the footfall from St Stephens Street.
"We've only had positive comments about this."
The buildings were formerly the location of the 15th-century pub the Boar's Head, which was bombed in 1942 before being rebuilt as the city's first music hall, Barbarella's.