Plans to turn Great Yarmouth hotel into 20-bed homeless hostel unanimously approved

Plans to turn the derelict Two Bears hotel in Great Yarmouth into a YMCA youth hostel were unanimously approved at a borough council planning meeting tonight.

Now proposals have been given the green light, the building in Pasteur Road, Cobholm can be transformed into supported accommodation for 20 homeless people.

The permission is subject to lower windows on the rear and south west elevations being obscured to give neighbours privacy.

And it is subject to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) condition that residents do not move in until a Hazardous Substance Consent order at a nearby site in Bunn's Lane is lifted - officers said this will not pose difficulties for the hostel plans.

Residents of neighbouring Heritage Mews had voiced concerns over the hostel overlooking their homes, and the director of the adjacent Cobholm and Lichfield Childcare Centre raised worries over the safety of the centre's children.

But councillors reasoned that compromises could be reached, and the young adults being housed at the hostel would not pose a danger to anybody.

Penny Linden, councillor for Southtown and Cobholm ward, said: 'Like a little village people do get anxious about newcomers, and that's exactly what's going on here.

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'Compromises can be met. I'm not saying residents are right or wrong as they're their concerns, but this building has been empty for a long time.

'It's an eyesore that attracts vandalism but under these plans it could employ local people there.'

Bernard Williamson, councillor for Claydon ward, said: 'I think this will be a terrific use of the building. The look is derelict and I know there are concerns about overlooking, but I'm sure these can be addressed.'

Council officers added that in the building's previous use as a hotel residents would have less control about who was overlooking their property.

George Jermany, councillor for East Flegg ward, added: 'We do hear a lot about noise and hooligans but this is people who have proven ability to live independently. We need to support these 18 to 24-year-olds.'

All nine councillors at the Great Yarmouth Borough Council Development Control Committee meeting voted to approve the plans.

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