THE city’s YMCA has closed after 40 years in a move that hostel bosses were initially desperate to keep under wraps.

Residents below the age of 35 only have been transferred to three new sites for accommodation across the city, offering 47 units of supported and affordable housing.

The new office will be based in Chestnut Walk, Worcester, but it is currently unclear where the accommodation sites are – while yesterday cars were blocking the entrances to the old site in Henwick Road.

We understand from one source that the new properties are being rented by the YMCA as a temporary measure while permanent solutions are found.

They said anyone over the age threshold has been found alternative places to live, though not understood to be rented by the charity organisation.

It is estimated there were up to 75 residents at the time of the move, but is unclear how many were over 35 years of age.

For months, YMCA bosses have remained tight lipped, refusing to reveal where the new the move would be to.

We were told by a spokesman in June it was still “exploring a number of housing options” which would “expand” its accommodation in the city.

An eyewitness told the Worcester News he had seen men in suits moving around the outer grounds of the property taking photos yesterday morning.

And a neighbour said he understood the move had taken place earlier this week.

Paying users of the rear five-a-side pitches were out in the cold on Tuesday evening having been left completely out of the loop.

One player, who has used the pitches every month for five years as part of a rolling agreement, said he called the branch number after finding the reception closed and floodlights switched off.

He was told the facility had moved to the city centre but that the location was a secret.

As we first reported in November, a new buyer is yet to be found for the up-for-sale building, putting plans to convert it into student accommodation by next September in serious doubt.

It was previously understood the YMCA hoped to be moving out last month, with the building having been sold and developers given permission for the conversion in July 2018.

But in recent weeks it has been put back on the market by PFHD (Worcester) Ltd and, as of yet, has no new buyer.

Property company Purple Frog secured planning permission on behalf of the developers to turn the site into a 149-bedroom student block in summer last year and hoped it would be up and running in 2020.

The developers were subsequently hopeful a new buyer would emerge in time to "commence works" in the New Year.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for Purple Frog said: “We’re delighted that the YMCA has been able to relocate.

“We are looking for investors who are willing to ensure this historic Worcester property gets another lease of life and continues to be part of the local community.”

The site has been listed by agents Knight Frank at £2,890,000, with the advert stating it has planning consent for conversion into student accommodation.

The plan for the listed building, which dates back to 1868, was to house 87 students while a new building on the same site would provide 62 bedrooms and be largely screened from the road.

The scheme also featured a gym, a cinema room, study facilities, laundry service, communal spaces, en-suite rooms and 42 studio flats, all built with the city’s “growing student community in mind”.

The University of Worcester has previously distanced itself from the plans, with a spokesman saying it has had no involvement in the anticipated conversion.

Worcester City Council agreed to sell the derelict former Sansome Walk swimming pool – which closed in December 2016 – to Sanctuary House and the YMCA in March.

The plan was for it to be converted into 22 two-bedroom shared-ownership homes, 76 accommodation units for 18-35 year-olds, a business hub and a communal enterprise space.

However, demolition of the old pool site was setback until February 2020 and is likely to last around eight-and-a-half months, while further investigations explore exactly how much asbestos is in the building and buried in the ground.

It is unclear whether the hostel is waiting around for this site, however, one Worcester News reader said they had spotted a YMCA van parked at the pool site last month.

A YMCA Worcestershire spokesman said: “Henwick Road has been part of YMCA for many years. It has touched the lives of many within the community, we are pleased that we can continue to offer affordable accommodation for young people in the city.”

“We would like to thank everyone that has been a part of making this possible and are mainly are proud of the work of our staff team and residents that have worked hard over the past months with the move into our new accommodation.’

They added, we will continue to explore new options in providing affordable accommodation for young people in Worcestershire.