By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
After a decade in the pipeline, the YMCA building in Wimbledon is set to be demolished in the first stage of a £30 million project.
On the site, a new 121-room YMCA hostel and 135 flats will be built.
The current eight-storey YMCA building and six-storey Olympic House office block will be demolished to make way for the new development.
The new hostel will include rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a gym, children’s play area and new YMCA cafe.
The sale of the new flats is expected to fund the YMCA hostel. The ground floor of the flats will include two of shop spaces.
The plans were given the green light by Merton council in December, with the demolition approved last month.
Overall, 107 people objected to the plans, while 101 wrote letters in support of the redevelopment.
At the time, Abbey Ward councillor Eleanor Stringer wrote: “We and other residents were nervous about one large unloved building being replaced with another.
“Thankfully, following substantial input from local residents, we believe that this proposal offers a development that will benefit the local community as a whole.”
But the Wimbledon Hill Residents’ Association objected to the development, saying the nine-storey development was too tall for the area.
In a letter to the council, the association said that instead of luxury flats there should be affordable rented properties.
YMCA St Paul’s group chief executive Richard James said: “YMCA has become a key partner to Meton council in the provision of supported accommodation for young and vulnerable people for many years.
“We are also home to a cross-section of the community who come through our one front door to access affordable activities.
“While our work has evolved in response to the needs, our building desperately needs to catch up.
“We’re delighted to be breaking ground with this exciting development, which will enable us to support vulnerable and young people as well as offer facilities that will benefit the whole community.”
The development is expected to take place in two stages, the first being the new hostel which is expected to be completed by 2023, followed by the flats which have a target of 2025 to finish.
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