Second attempt to turn former MJB hotel in Norwich into shared housing

PUBLISHED: 16:16 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:16 05 April 2018

Bristol House in Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Bristol House in Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A fresh attempt is to be made to get permission from city councillors for the conversion of a former Norwich hotel.

A bid to turn the former MJB hotel at Bristol House in Unthank Road into a housing scheme shared by 27 people was rejected in February.

Last September Ben James, the new owner of Bristol House and The Lodge, also on Unthank Road, announced he planned to invest £600,000 in each property.

While under the ownership of the MJB group, both properties had been the source of numerous complaints about drug taking and prostitution.

But Mr James said that would change, as he was looking to attract a “different type” of clientele.

He said the idea of a development with shared living spaces built for those wanting to rent came from London.

However, the conversion plans, which would have seen the creation of a 27-bedroom home, with a gym, cinema room and communal areas were rejected 
by Norwich City Council’s planning committee.

They turned it down, by six votes to five, on the basis it did 
not provide high-quality amenity for the people who would live in the property.

So, the applicant has returned with a revised application for the buildings, which are locally listed and sit in the Heigham Grove Conservation Area.

That would reduce the number of people living there from 27 to 26, with a bigger communal space and improved lighting.

Officers are recommending that, this time, the application is given the go-ahead by members of the committee.

In the report, which will come before city councillors on Thursday, they state: “The applicant has made a number 
of changes to the scheme in 
order to address the issues identified within the previous reason for refusal.

“The amendments to the scheme are considered to make a significant improvement to the quality of the living accommodation provided to 
future occupants.”

When the property was under the ownership of the MJB group, owned by Tony Burlingham, there were complaints from guests and neighbours about their appearance, the fact they were not staffed and about anti-social behaviour.

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