Housing scheme plans for young people in Aylsham turned down

Controversial plans for a new housing scheme to help young homeless people have been turned down.

Broadland District Council's planning committee considered proposals for eight one-bedroom flats to be built along Station Road in Aylsham.

Seven of the flats were designed for 16-24-year-olds while the eighth would have been for a 24-hour adult support worker.

The building was planned to be next to the Bure Valley Railway (BVR) and on the site of a car park owned by Broadland District Council, resulting in the loss of about 19 car parking spaces in the popular market town.

Councillors refused the planning application on the grounds that it was not a suitable location.

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There were concerns that the project would not only impinge on the town's limited parking availability but also have a detrimental impact on the BVR and on recycling facilities in Aylsham.

Committee member Shirley Peters said: 'I'm fully in support of accommodation for young people but my concern is that it's not the right place.

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'I believe we need car parking, this is one of our major places for visitors, and it will be foolhardy to look at it and say we can do without that car parking.'

The plans, which had been put forward by the Flagship Housing Group, had sparked a raft of objections.

As well as reducing parking spaces in the town, the building would have also been next door to a care home for the elderly.

People living in the town considered the site 'totally inappropriate'.

Eileen Springall, chairman of Aylsham Town Council, welcomed the committee's decision.

She said: 'I'm absolutely delighted. I have to praise the planning committee for listening. Their debate was very fair on both sides.

'We are not opposed to providing provision for under-privileged young people but the planned site was the wrong place.'

The planning committee voted against the plans seven to five.

John Archibald, chief executive of Victory Housing Trust, which would have taken over the ownership and management of the building once built, had argued that there was a 'pressing need' for affordable accommodation for young people and that the scheme would have been an opportunity to 'break down negative stereotypes'.

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