A MUCH-LOVED youth centre is set to be converted and replaced with a new housing estate.

The YMCA in Wallasey closed its doors in 2011 after funding cuts left the organisation cash-strapped and unable to stay open.

It had served the local community for more than 110 years, delivering youth projects, programmes and schemes in partnership with other agencies to target hard-to-reach young people.

But now social landlords Wirral Partnership Homes are hoping to build nine new apartments and six semi-detached houses.

They believe the development, which is recommended for approval by local planning officers, will bring a “prominent building” back to residential use and that its current state detracts from the area’s character.

Under the plans, the main building would be converted into an apartment block with the sports hall at the back of the property being knocked down and a set of new family homes being created.

However some local residents fear the scheme could invade their privacy and create extra traffic in the surrounding area.

There are also objections concerning the tenants chosen to live there and noise and anti-social behaviour.

Steve Eaves, assistant director of development, said: "Before submitting the planning application, we leafleted all residents in the local area and in November 2012, held a drop-in consultation event. 

"The feedback we received was that local residents were pleased  that the YMCA building was not being demolished as it is one of the local landmarks remaining in this area and the majority of people stated they were supportive of our plans."

Addressing specific issues raised by some residents, Mr Eaves said planning separation distances would be complied with to avoid invasion of privacy.

He added that each property would have its own parking space to reduce the risk of parking problems.

Wirral planning committee will review the application at Wallasey Town Hall on February 21.