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Stratford extra care development approved

Plans for a large extra care facility close on land close to the Waitrose Island have been approved by Stratford District Council.

The facility, which will comprise of 56 units providing accommodation for residents over the age of 70, was approved at a meeting of the council’s Western Area Planning Committee last week.

Back in March the plan was initially rejected by the planning committee on the grounds that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that residents would have access to a range of facilities and services or that there was suitable drainage at the site.

Another reason for the application being initially rejected was the proposed development’s location within a parcel of land identified as being of medium to high sensitivity to housing.

However during last week’s meeting Lisa Mathewson on behalf of McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles LTD, explained, that as part of the resubmission of the application, a detailed drainage plan had been submitted along with a landscape and visual assessment.

She explained that a new foot access to the front of Waitrose from the new facility had been built into the plans and that a safe route using existing pedestrian crossings had been identified for residents who wished to walk to the bus stop on Shipston Road.

During the meeting the committee was told that the developers had agreed to contribute £100,000 towards a new traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing on Shipston Road.

Committee members also made a point that they would like the applicant to consider providing a bus service or subsidising one to the site.

Cllr Molly Giles said: “What concerns me is that substantively there’s very little that’s different about this application to the one in March when the officer recommended refusal and this committee decided refusal. There is nothing really there that addressees my primary concerns. We are not supposed to be approving things that fall outside the built up area of Stratford, we’ve developed our core strategy for this exact purpose because we’ve gone through a long process to identify the appropriate sites for development.”

She added: “It’s isolated essentially out of town area, by definition outside of the built up boundary. For people with extra care needs I have a real concern that there is an element of physical isolation her but I think there is also an element of psychological isolation because what we haven’t got here is other residential development.”

Cllr Giles and Cllr Mike Gittus accepted that there was a need for this type of accommodation in the Stratford area.

Cllr Peter Richards added: “I think it’s a great shame that we are going to end up with another set of traffic lights in Stratford, but in this case I think the crossing is very, very important and it will also benefit the commercial property next door. There is clearly an identified need for these units.

“On balance, despite it being outside the built up area, it’s probably the right place for it to be, people in extra care who move into these properties want to be away from the hustle and bustle and noise of a town, they will have beautiful views of the surrounding area, it’s an ideal location for them and there is easily accessible transport to and from the town.”

The committee voted 7-1 in favour of granting planning permission.

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