YMCA Wellington currently provides supported accommodation for up to 40 people aged between 16 and 25 at three sites around the town.
Jessop Brothers Ltd has applied to redesignate and internally alter the New College, a former girls’ school building, on King Street, to provide an additional 28 one-bedroom units for the organisation.
In a statement, its planning agent assured Telford & Wrekin Council the change will have “minimal effect on the general aesthetics” of the Grade II-listed 110-year-old building.
Wellington Town Council will be consulted, and the borough council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.
The design statement, submitted by architect Steve Faizey on behalf of the Cannock-based developer, notes that the plans are unrelated to planned redevelopment elsewhere on the New College site.
“The building has, until recently, formed part of a larger site for higher education which is to be redeveloped as part of a separate scheme,” Mr Faizey wrote.
“A first-floor link between the existing building and the remainder of the New College is being demolished as part of a separate planning application.
“This application is in respect of a change of use of the former girls’ school building.
“The proposals will provide 28 self-contained one-bed accommodation units for the YMCA, plus ancillary accommodation.
“The building and, in particular, the front elevation, is in a Neo-classical style with much of the original facade unchanged since its original construction.
“The development of the building into YMCA accommodation is intended to be undertaken with minimal effect on the general aesthetics of the building.
“The building is an important historical asset as it is a part of the narrative of how the area has evolved over the years, therefore a sensitive re-adaptation rather than removal is important.
“The New College scheme offers an opportunity for the YMCA to expand its range of much-needed services to meet an identified need for young people with low – often transitory – support needs, especially those who only need support whilst they learn to live independently for the first time and who cannot access home ownership or the private rented sector.”
Mr Faizey notes that these young people could be priced out of the market or unable to pay a deposit or agents’ fees or lack tenancy references. The YMCA’s “transitional housing” model helps them “gain positive experience of holding a tenancy” allowing them to progress onwards.
“Typical tenancy durations will be for one or two years,” he adds.
“There will be a staff office within the building that will operate during normal working hours from which residents can access the YMCA’s support, management and maintenance services.”