A former housing shelter for elderly people is set to be fully refurbished and extended as part of plans to replace it with a foyer for vulnerable young people.
MHS Homes has lodged a planning application seeking permission from Medway Council to build two additional studio flats and to install a covered walkway to the existing facade of Russell House to form new, glazed communal facilities for its young residents.
Proposals also include fencing around the perimeter of the entire site, landscaping and a gated stairwell down to the site from Magpie Hall Road.
MHS Homes has already been granted permission to demolish the row of garages at Russell Court off Henry Street and replace these with 12 parking bays for staff and visitors.
The closure of the former housing shelter for elderly people was announced back in February 2019, after MHS Homes said that Russell House failed to "provide the standards required of modern sheltered accommodation" in line with central government guidance.
Russell House first opened in 1972 and consisted of 29 flats - 24 of which were "difficult to let" studio flats, according to MHS Homes.
Fierce concerns were raised by residents living in the surrounding area of Henry Street and Newnham Street after the announcement of the shelter's closure came to light by mistake.
Speaking about the closure in June 2019 to Future Chatham, Cllr Jo Howcroft-Scott for Luton & Wayfield explained: "A foyer in Russell House may change the character or identity of the place that already has many challenges both social and economic.
"Many local residents feel MHS do not do enough for the existing community without adding more trouble to the mix.
"MHS Homes are now putting together an application and a presentation to planning. We will look closely at this and work hard to achieve the best results for the local community."
It is understood that the new foyer will provide valuable accommodation for vulnerable and homeless young, local people.
A statement in the planning application clarifies that the future occupants of the units are "not young offenders, they are merely young people who have to live on their own for the first time (parent dies or is sick etc)".
You can have your say on the plans for the refurbishment and extension of Russell House by searching 'MC/19/3327' on the Medway Planning Portal or by clicking here.