Developers re-submit plans for retirement apartments in Saffron Walden

DEVELOPERS have re-submitted plans to build 27 retirement apartments in Saffron Walden after being snubbed by councillors.

Applicant McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles is looking to push through proposals to redevelop parts of the former Bell Language School site in South Road.

The application was refused by Uttlesford District Council’s development control committee last week, with members pointing to the inadequate number of parking spaces and affordable houses.

But Alex Child, a director at The Planning Bureau Ltd, acting on behalf of McCarthy & Stone, argued that the reasons for refusal were not within the councillors’ remit.

“We are disappointed members resolved to refuse the application contrary to the officers’ recommendations for approval, particularly with the reasons relating to the technical matters such as car parking and affordable housing. They really need the technical back-up to make that determination,” he said.

“Our clients have re-submitted a fresh application and ask them [the committee] to reconsider their decision.

“We are also planning an appeal – while we would prefer to resolve this locally we need the finality of a planning appeal decision if an agreement can’t be reached.”

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The development scheme is for 20 two-bedroom and seven one-bedroom apartments in a purpose-built facility, with communal space and 12 parking spaces.

Mr Child said that the development offered an ideal lifestyle relocation for members of the older generation.

“McCarthy & Stone would not want to build in Saffron Walden if they didn’t think there was a need,” he said.

“The population is getting older and the town is no exception, so clearly there is a need for this type of accommodation.

“This scheme offers accommodation for members of the older community who are homeowners and want to downsize to a central location with safety and security built in.

“It also helps recycle the housing market, freeing up housing stock for younger families to move into.”