Stigma around mental health has been blamed after neighbours blocked a plan to open a safe house facility near Great Yarmouth.

Norfolk and Waveney Mind had hoped to change a property in Broom Garden in Belton into a facility for people needing its support.

Had the plan gone ahead it would have seen charity staff on the premises at all hours offering a place for up to four people at a time to receive support.

It would have provided short term accommodation for people to stay while their full needs were established and further help arranged.

But after more than 30 neighbours lodged complaints against the plans, the charity withdrew its planning application and is now hunting for an alternative location to the cul-de-sac.

Neighbours cited concerns about car parking, potential noise disruption and increased flow of traffic.

Other objectors said it would not be appropriate to have the unit close to a school. Moorlands Primary Academy is in a neighbouring street.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Pete Boczko, chief executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mind. Picture: NewsquestPete Boczko, chief executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mind. Picture: Newsquest (Image: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022)

But Pete Boczko, chief executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mind, said he feared that stigma associated with mental health had played a big factor in the level of objections.

He said: "We held meetings with neighbours to explain exactly how things would work and what our plans were but we were just met with such resistance. 

"The neighbours made it clear in no uncertain terms that they would not support us and that they would essentially make our lives hell - so we pulled out.

"That tells you just how much stigma there still is attached to people who are dealing with mental ill health.

"The kind of people we would have been helping there are not bad people - they are just unwell and need help."

Mr Boczko said the charity was in the process of looking for an alternative location - which would provide a similar service to Holly Tree House, a property it already runs in this way.