Concerns over plan to turn Two Bears hotel into a hostel for the homeless

PARENTS have been reassured that their children’s wellbeing will not be put at risk if the former Two Bears hotel in Cobholm is turned into supported accommodation for 20 homeless people.

More than 50 letters of objection have been sent to Great Yarmouth Borough Council over the plans which have sparked concern among local people.

YMCA Norfolk proposes to renovate the run-down Pasteur Road hotel to provide supported accommodation in 20 self-contained flats and a communal hub.

But the site is next to a nursery and backs onto the gardens of homes in Heritage Mews, and residents had been concerned that the move would expose their children to anti-social behaviour.

Miss Wright, of Heritage Mews, was worried her three year old daughter would hear foul language and be within a stone’s throw of substance abuse if plans go ahead.

She said: “We just want to be sure we don’t find needles or beer cans in our garden. There’s just a 6ft wall between us and the Two Bears and children are going to hear the language.

“It would be a constant influx of young people at the hostel and we won’t know their background.

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“We desperately want something to be done with the Two Bears - we’ve had to call the fire brigade out to it before - but is this really appropriate for this location?”

But after a community information event held at Cobholm and Lichfield Health & Resource Centre on Wednesday morning some of her fears have been allayed.

She added she felt the nature of the unit had been poorly communicated to residents, leading to unnecessary concern.

But she said she had been assured CCTV cameras would be in place and the car park area would be sealed off.

However, Miss Wright said she still has worries about the new hostel overlooking her home.

Antonella Muscat, of Heritage Mews, said: “The idea is good but it’s going to create noise and I’m not particularly keen on it.

“It will overlook my garden and it’s likely to be disruptive.”

The plans for the Two Bears, which closed in 2005, are for supported accommodation for around 20 young homeless people along with other services including a community caf�, youth and community work and health and wellbeing activities.

Mary Ives, YMCA Norfolk area director for Great Yarmouth, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity which will enable us to provide a new type of accommodation in the area for young people who are showing real progress in moving their lives forward.

“We will now be able to support young people right through their journey from crisis point to independence, helping to break the cycle of homelessness.”

Plans that have been submitted to the borough council show proposals for a community caf�, internet facilities and training and conference accommodation and a drop-in and advice and guidance services.

The accommodation will be used for young people who are already housed in supported accommodation elsewhere and have been able to evidence their readiness for the next step into more independent living.

Steven Reilly, spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We have received the application and are currently out to public consultation.”