Plans for ‘care village’ in Beccles set for green light from council

A retirement community could be built on the former Ingate Ironworks site in Beccles. Photo: McCarth

A retirement community could be built on the former Ingate Ironworks site in Beccles. Photo: McCarthy and Stone. - Credit: Archant

Plans for an 80 home ‘care village’ at a former ironworks in Beccles are set to get the green light from East Suffolk Council next week.

The application, from McCarthy and Stone, looks to demolish the existing buildings on the former Ingate ironworks site, off Gosford Road, to build homes for people over the age of 55 - although most residents will be above this age.

It seeks permission to build a part four storey, part three storey housing block of 55 flats - 34 single bedroom and 32 twin bedroom - as well as 23 bungalows and two further flats over garages.

The four storey section of the block of flats is 11.25m above ground level at its highest level.

The development, if built, is expected to provide employment for 14 full-time staff.

Beccles Town Council has objected to the plans, arguing the proposed block of flats is 'too high and imposing' and should be reduced to three storeys throughout.

It also argues it should be turned down due to the lack of affordable housing included in the plans and that there is inadequate pedestrian access to the town centre.

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Planning documents also show the application has been opposed by the Beccles Society.

It reads: "The Beccles Society opposes this development because the massing of the proposed block of flats is too great in terms of its height and closeness to other properties, and would have an adverse impact on the street scene particularly in relation to existing properties on Fair Close and Gosford Road."

Four letters of objections were also received by East Suffolk Council as were 20 supporting notes received from residents of Beccles.

The planning documents read: "Several come from persons interested in taking up residence.

"There were a couple of responses that welcomed the proposal but observed the scale was large, felt local people should have placement priority or wanted to see a different mix of provision, with more bungalows and noting that GP surgeries need expansion."

East Suffolk Council's Planning Committee North have been recommended to approve the plans when it meets on Tuesday, October 8, on condition that a 106 agreement is completed within the next six months.

Neil Martyn, Principal Planning Associate at McCarthy and Stone said: "During our consultation with the local community, 88% of those that responded expressed support for our proposals so we are pleased that planning officers are now recommending that our application be approved by East Suffolk Council.

"If approved, our plans would deliver a high-quality retirement village, featuring Extra Care apartments and bungalows, helping to meet a growing need for housing for older people.

"Throughout the planning process we have carefully listened to feedback and have amended our plans, by adding a secondary pedestrian access and additional car parking spaces, to positively respond to the comments received.

"As a result, we are confident that our plans will make best-use of this vacant, brownfield site while delivering a range of wider benefits, for example, by enabling local older people to downsize and releasing family-sized homes back into the local market."

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