YMCA unveils plans for redeveloped hostel in Wimbledon

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Correspondent

A 50-year-old YMCA which has been a dilapidated eyesore for more than a decade is to be regenerated.

Plans published last summer for the building in Wimbledon have been revised by the applicants after residents reacted with anger to it being replaced by a 15-storey tower.

Now the YMCA has presented plans to demolish the existing hostel and replace it with a new eight-storey building, alongside a nine-storey block of flats.

The project, by Thornsett, which builds ‘residential-led enabling developments’, would boost the YMCA from 111 to 120 rooms, including en-suites, for short-term supported housing for over 16s.

Currently men and women have to share run-down washing facilities.

And in the nine-storey block there would be 136 one and two-bedroom flats.

Mitchell Brand, head of business at Thornsett, said: “The building is in dire need of redevelopment.

“It is not ideal for men and women to be sharing washing facilities. It needs a facelift.

“The YMCA has been trying to get something developed here for the past 10 years, Thornsett got involved a short while ago.

“It is a real eyesore and it sort of brings down the buildings around it. This will enliven this part of The Broadway, so everyone benefits.”

Mr Brand said nearly 300 people turned up at July’s consultation, and many had concerns about the height of the residential block – prompting Thornsett to reduce the height by six storeys.

He said: “It has been a complete sea-change – people have been appreciative that we have listened.

“This isn’t a minor tweak – we’ve gone back to the drawing board.”

Kate Hoole, who lives around the corner in Trinity Road, said she was pleased to see the updated plans are not as tall.

She said: “I am much happier with it, this height and the use of materials is so much more in keeping with other buildings and flats on the street.”

Ms Hoole said she would also like to see more ‘greening’ of the site and as many eco-friendly touches as possible.

The tallest part of the current 1970s building is nine storeys.

With the flats there would be just four disabled parking places provided and an agreement that no owners of the homes would be eligible for an on-street parking permit.

The development would also include two shop spaces on the ground floor, a central courtyard for residents and a small public space at the front.

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