New block of 49 retirement flats to be built in town centre

The apartment block is set to be built in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds

The apartment block is set to be built in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Google

A block of 49 retirement flats are set to built close to Bury St Edmunds town centre after the scheme received the green light from planners.

Churchill Retirement Living submitted proposals to West Suffolk Council to build the apartment complex in Risbygate Street in April this year.

The plans included demolishing a former bank and office building at the site to make way for the new retirement property.

A previous application to build flats at the site by Brown & Co., a separate retirement accommodation firm, was turned down in 2018 as planners raised concerns the design of the building would not represent the "historic significance" of Risbygate Street.

Churchill Retirement Living said it had addressed the planners' concerns in its application, saying the design reflected the "character" of the town centre.

To allay fears of nearby healthcare services becoming overwhelmed by the increase in elderly residents, Churchill Retirement Living agreed to contribute £14,504.95 in a Section 106 agreement to the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.

The developer has also agreed to pay out more than £500,000 to West Suffolk to go towards affordable housing in the area.

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Bury St Edmunds Town Council had initially outlined its opposition to the plans, with community leaders raising concerns over the development's impact on parking in the area and the scale of the building.

Several residents living in nearby Nelson Road also expressed concerns about the design of the complex.

Planning documents submitted with the proposals said: "The site is located within the established settlement boundary where the principle of development is acceptable.

"The redevelopment of this redundant brownfield site will make a positive contribution to this key getaway location in the town and deliver much-needed homes for older persons.

"It is accepted that retaining a commercial use on the site is unlikely to be viable and that the residential re-use of the site is appropriate.

"The proposal therefore accords with the development plan in this regard.

"On balance, it is considered that the proposal meets the economic, social and environmental elements of sustainable development and that the benefits of the scheme outweigh any minor adverse effect identified."

West Suffolk's planners gave the scheme the go-ahead this week, with conditions.