Council keen to correct ‘mis-information’ about planned new Melton housing block for youngsters

Ronan Browne, people and places manager at Melton Borough Council EMN-150515-153437001
Ronan Browne, people and places manager at Melton Borough Council EMN-150515-153437001
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Criticism on social media of a planned building to house young people and help them live independent lives in Melton has prompted the borough council to hold a third residents’ meeting to correct what they call ‘mis-information’ about the scheme.

The authority want to build a 27-bedroom ‘foyer’ accomodation block, for 16 to 25-year-olds who are actively engaged in education, training or employment, on its former car park site at Thorpe End.

Comments have appeared on the council’s Facebook page voicing concerns about a threat of anti-social behaviour from the youngsters who will live there.

And a resident of nearby Brook Street, who declined to give his name, told the Melton Times: “No-one is going to want to live near this place when it is built - it will devalue all the houses down here.

“There are also 80 and 90-year-olds living in flats nearby and they are going to be frightened about having these young people living so close to them.”

The council say the project will provide support services covering alcohol and drugs but it insisted the centre was not for offenders or high-risk individuals.

Council officers, together with represenatives of Axiom Housing Association, which is partnering with the council on the scheme, will explain details of the project to residents of nearby Brook Street and surrounding area on Tuesday evening - two previous consultation meetings have been held with 40 householders from St John’s Court, Brook Street and Mill Street.

Ronan Browne, Melton Council’s people and places manager, said: “This meeting is a third information meeting due to the mis-information that has been circulating on social media as to what the development is and the foyer project is.

“Leaflets have been sent out to residents explaining most things about the project. The allocation of the housing will only be for local Melton residents and it will be decided jointly from our housing register by Melton Borough Council and Axiom Housing Association.

“We have followed the same model as the foyer in Wisbech which had similar concerns at the beginning but, six years on, has transformed the lives of 85 per cent of the residents who have lived there.”

The council released a statement following the recent social media comments, where it explained that in-depth research had been carried out to find the most appropriate site for the foyer.

It pointed out that young people could only get accommodation there if they committed to full-time education or training. They would be given support on health issues, employment, education, housing and life skills.

The aim of the scheme is to give young people the skills and resilience to go on to manage their own sustainable tenancy, either in social housing or the private rented sector, and ensuring they gain skills which can lead them to full time employment.

The council said it was a much-needed projected because last year it supported 90 young people aged 16 to 25 which it could not offer sustainable housing to. The authority expects to submit a full planning application by the end of June at the latest.