THE city's YMCA hostel could move onto the site of a closed swimming pool if secret plans go ahead.

Worcester City Council is in private talks with the YMCA about relocating its centre, in Henwick Road, to the Sansome Walk swimming pool complex, which is due to be demolished.

Hostel bosses plan to move out of their current property, which has been sold for student housing, by December 2019.

City councillor Joy Squires, who represents the area, added: "I have serious doubts about the wisdom of placing so many young people with support needs in the Arboretum.

"I had hoped to see a range of affordable housing options considered for the Sansome Walk site, a view shared by my Labour colleagues.

"However, other members of the policy and resources committee voted instead to pursue the YMCA hostel proposal.

"I always favoured affordable family housing for the site.”

Reacting to the revelations, Jane Moorhouse, chair of the Arboretum Residents' Association, said: "The Arboretum is a very finely balanced area and I would be concerned about any project that would cause an imbalance.

"I'm not sure we can absorb people who perhaps have more social problems."

Ms Moorhouse, aged 53, of Lowell Street, questioned why members of the public had not been consulted on the plans.

She said she wants to meet YMCA staff to discuss the proposal.

It is thought councillors voted to press ahead with the hostel option during a private section of the city council's policy and resources meeting in November.

County councillor Matthew Jenkins, who also represents the area, said: "I think it would have been better if there was a bit more openness about it.

"It's obvious there's pros and cons. A pro would be for the YMCA to have a building - and to have it near the centre of Worcester would be a good thing."

He said another perk of the proposal is that it would not increase traffic problems in the area - as YMCA residents are less likely to have cars.

However the councillor added that some locals might be concerned about the site becoming become a magnet for drug dealing.

Homelessness campaigner Hugo Sugg said: "Without hesitation, I urge YMCA Worcestershire staff and management to create a plan on where they will go immediately and for the Homeless Forum to discuss this as an urgent item at their next meeting.

"The homeless in Worcester deserve more than bad planning and poor, inadequate service delivery."

YMCA Worcestershire said it was pursuing a number of opportunities and the city council said it had yet to receive a planning application.

The pool shut in January last year.