Tue, 04 Jun 2019
RETIREMENT flats are to be built in Thatcham town centre this summer following plans being given the green light.
McCarthy & Stone has been given permission to build the 92 apartments on land off Station Road and The Moors, which includes the former site of Tigers Too Day Nursery, 2a and 2b Station Road and the vacant Alexandra Court and Regent House.
The application includes a retirement living scheme of 40 one-and-two bedroom apartments for private sale to over-60s; and an extra care scheme of 52 one-and two-bedroom apartments for private sale to over-70s.
Communal facilities and 51 car parking spaces are also included in the scheme.
It said there was a considerable need for specialist accommodation for older people, which would contribute to the overall housing needs of Thatcham.
McCarthy and Stone regional managing director Shane Paull said: “We are delighted to receive planning permission for two new schemes in Thatcham.
“Our consented plans will deliver an attractive residential development in a highly-sustainable location for our customers and will help to meet an acknowledged local need for specialist accommodation for older people.”
The company said that construction work will begin on-site early this summer, with the first customers set to move in in autumn 2020.
Four people contacted the council objecting to the plans, which included placing a burden on local resources, the loss of space for further expansion of Thatcham’s retail centre and an over-provision of nursing homes in the area
However, the council received 13 letters of support, ranging from re-using a vacant brownfield site and providing a need for older residents looking to downsize, to being beneficial to local economy.
Approving the scheme, West Berkshire Council said that the sustainable site was within easy walking distance of local shops, doctors surgeries and bus routes.
The council added that the benefits of retaining the office accommodation “were not considered to outweigh the benefits associated with regeneration of the site to provide a substantial quantity of new housing”.
McCarthy & Stone claimed that research showed residents would contribute £670,000-a-year to Thatcham’s economy.
The council added that the retirement homes “would be likely to have a beneficial impact on the neighbouring businesses within Thatcham retail centre”.
It said: “In light of these considerations, the proposed works are not considered to be such as to result in a sufficiently detrimental impact on local service and amenities so as to merit a reason for refusal of this application.”
The Berkshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (February 2016) highlighted that a further 2,239 units of specialist retirement housing for older people would be required in West Berkshire between 2013 and 2036.
There will be a £575,000 contribution towards off-site provision of affordable housing.