Melton residents raise concerns over housing foyer plans

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Residents are up in arms over proposals to build a housing foyer for young people (aged 16-25) on a former public car park in Melton.

Peterborough-based Axiom Housing Association want to build the 27-bedroom facility on Thorpe End car park – land owned by Melton Council.

But at a meeting on Tuesday residents voiced their strong objections to the plans, claiming the proposed three-and-a-half storey building was too big, would overlook and over-shadow neighbouring homes, would be totally out of keeping with the area and would de-value their homes.

They were also concerned about the loss of parking for residents and shoppers.

The meeting was called by the council in response to comments made on social media about the scheme, with the authority keen to correct what it called ‘mis-information’.

Ronan Browne, the council’s people and places manager, explained the housing foyer would be for 16 to 25-year-olds who were committed to engaging in full-time education, training or employment.

He said it was a much-needed project because there was a ‘massive lack of housing for young people in the borough’ with the council currently having to house a lot of local people outside of Melton.

Residents heard the foyer would provide vulnerable young people with not just a safe place to live but also provide them with 24/7 support towards helping them to become independent, to learn new life skills and gain work.

The aim 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, while ensuring they gain skills which can lead them to full-time work.

Some residents had also voiced concerns about any young people living there having a history of offending.

Karen Chambers, Axiom’s supported housing manager, said it was ‘very unlikely’ any young person with an offending background or who had been tagged would be housed at the foyer, adding that any young people misbehaving could be asked to leave. She said: “We don’t have blanket rules. Expectations will vary according to the individual.”

A Brook Street resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The concept sounds good and there’s a need for this kind of thing but this site is totally inappropriate for it.”

The council has extended the deadline for people to submit comments on the planning application until June 18.