Waiting game on hostel's future
IT'S all quiet on the Trimley front again – but beleaguered residents are now waiting to see what the future holds for a controversial building.The uses of Seven Oaks have been causing great concern for sometime and each time one use ends, villagers fear what is next.
IT'S all quiet on the Trimley front again – but beleaguered residents are now waiting to see what the future holds for a controversial building.
The uses of Seven Oaks have been causing great concern for sometime and each time one use ends, villagers fear what is next.
Owner Larry Graham has been renting out parts of the 28-bedroom property in Church Lane as lodgings, with many of the people staying believed to be foreign itinerant workers or asylum seekers.
Nearby residents said the use had not been causing problems but there had been no lights on in the imposing building for the past fortnight and everyone who was renting rooms appeared to have left.
"It is all quiet again, and I think everyone has moved on," said neighbour Peter Newman, a member of Trimley St Mary Parish Council.
"Now we just have to wait and see what will happen. It is always a concern but people are keeping an eye on the situation."
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It is also understood that some conversion work has been taking place inside the building by contractors, and fenced grazing areas being created.
There have been rumours that Mr Graham – who refuses to comment on the property – is planning to use it as a holiday centre for people touring the country on horseback.
The property, which started life as a vicarage, was granted permission for use as a hostel in January 2000 when it was being used as a hostel for 50 foreign backpackers working on a year-out from their studies.
Villagers had objected to the hostel use because they were worried at some many young men – aged 18 to 30 – roaming their community.
They said the hostel was too large and was having an unsettling affect on the community and causing traffic and litter problems.
The hostel closed in February 2000 and the building has stood mostly empty since then. It hit the headlines again last autumn when a couple renting a few rooms as a flat saw ghosts and fled from the property.
For many years it had been a nursing home, although this was not without controversy when a large conservatory was built without permission.
Eighteen months ago, Mr Graham applied to turn it back into a nursing home for 22 residents, but the application was deferred and never decided.