Tuesday 23 April 2024
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Former Nottingham friary to become home for vulnerable adults

Plans to convert a former friary into accommodation for people who are homeless have been given the green light after rival petitions were organised over the proposals.

Homelessness support charity Emmanuel House plans to convert the Franciscan Friary, in Gordon Road, Thorneywood, Nottingham into supported accommodation for seven adults.

The friary building, built in the 1960s, is attached to the older Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Church which will still be available for parish use.

However the plans were hit by opposition and a petition against them was set up and signed by 215 people.

Meanwhile another petition, signed by 294 people, was organised in support of the scheme.

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In a statement the headteacher of the nearby Our Lady and St Edward Catholic School also spoke out in support and said “concerns have been taken into account and the work of the applicant Emmanuel House is in line with the school’s values”.

During a Nottingham City Council planning committee meeting on Wednesday, February 21, St Ann’s ward councillor Corall Jenkins (Lab) made representations from residents opposed to the plans.

She said parents “are bemused” by claims the school is supportive of the scheme, given that a governors meeting had raised concerns.

“[Residents] want me to make it clear they are not against helping the homeless,” she said. “I have been asked by constituent residents who live in the area to make representations on their behalf.

“Those that live in the area, who have worked hard to rebuild the historic reputation, see this move as inappropriate for their community, not appropriate for their young children to witness people who have multiple complex needs and that can adversely effect the character of the character of the area.

“We are talking about young impressionable children, what will they witness here?”

Emmanuel House said there would be case workers attending from Monday to Friday, helping residents access housing, benefits, work and other services.

The service will act as a platform so low-needs users can access longer-term accommodation and would provide residents with round-the-clock support.

Cllr Kirsty Jones (Lab), who said she lives 10 minutes away from the site, argued the plans align with council policies and such early intervention could prevent more people presenting with complex needs in future.

“A lot of the objections mention concerns about close proximity to other residential properties, I don’t see this as an issue itself,” she said.

“It may be for different people but it still is residential. The fact the school headteacher and the priest are in favour of it as well reassures me.”

Councillors were told by officers that trust must be placed in Emmanuel House in that the accommodation will be properly managed.

Cllr Graham Chapman (Lab) asked that Emmanuel House provides reassurance that a support worker is always on site and this came as an additional condition to the plans being approved.

Nine members of the committee voted for the plans while one abstained.

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