A ‘landmark’ housing foyer for young people aged 16-25 is to be built on a former public car park on the edge of Melton town centre.
Melton Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the scheme, subject to conditions, last night (Thursday) despite hearing a multitude of concerns raised by neighbours.
Peterborough-based Axiom Housing Association is to build the three-storey 27-bedroom facility on Thorpe End car park - land owned by Melton Council.
Axiom say the foyer will provide safe and secure housing, support and training for young people, some of whom may have care backgrounds or be coming from broken homes.
Young people who will be housed there, for between six months and two years, will be expected to engage in full-time education, training or employment before eventually moving onto independent accommodation.
But neighbouring residents, including some in Brook Street, strongly felt the proposed building was too big and ‘totally out of keeping with the area’.
Concerns were raised about a loss of car parking in the town, impacting upon residents and shoppers, with objectors also fearing the foyer was ‘too close to an established residential area’ and would overlook and over-shadow neighbouring homes resulting in a loss of privacy for residents. Other concerns raised included the development’s impact on road safety and water voles at the site, risk of flooding and increased air pollution.
Pat Reid, the council’s regulatory services manager, said that Leicestershire County Highways hadn’t raised any objections to the scheme. He said: “The car park, at present, is a private car park. Until about 12 months ago it was a public car park with about 45 spaces.
“There will be an impact on existing parking in the town centre. There are about 1,000 car parking spaces in the town. The loss of 45 spaces is only four or five per cent - a relatively small proportion of car parking in the town centre.”
In terms of the foyer’s impact on residential amenity, Mr Reid told the committee that it would be most felt by newer properties in Brook Street which would be about 14 metres away from the building at their closest.
But he felt the design features of the foyer would ‘limit the impact’ on the nearest neighbours.
Although some committee members had concerns about the foyer’s impact on residents in Brook Street it was generally felt the benefits of the development outweighed the harm.
Councillor Pam Baguley said: “I think it’s a marvellous thing. So many young people fail to get the help they need. They need the guidance as well as the support these places offer.”
Councillor Pat Cumbers added: “I’m very pleased to see this. There are some very vulnerable 16-year-olds who haven’t got the family support they need. This foyer will help these young people and I think it’s something to be very proud of.”