Retirement apartments in Towcester town centre given planning permission at second attempt

A new retirement home with 43 apartments in Towcester town centre has been granted planning permission after previously being refused.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:11 pm
An artist's impression of how the new retirement apartments will look in Towcester town centre

Back in March 2019, councillors on South Northamptonshire Council’s planning committee had rejected a similar 45-apartment scheme from Churchill Retirement Living at Water Lane, opposite Waitrose.

It was unanimously rejected by members as it ‘failed to reflect the local style’. But the design of the building’s exterior has been amended, with two fewer apartments, and this was enough to satisfy the concerns of the councillors when they met at The Forum on January 9.

The approval means that the existing bungalow and outbuildings on the site will be demolished and replaced by a three-storey building with 27 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments. It is also features 21 parking spaces – including two disabled spaces – and a new access onto Water Lane.

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The complex will act as homes for people aged over 60

The apartments will act as a home for people aged 60 and above with a partner aged 55 and above. Facilities include a lounge, a guest suite, a lodge manager and a 24-hour emergency call alarm service.

This time recommending the scheme for approval, planning officers stated: “The proposed elevations have been simplified and all balconies removed. The complex hipped roof design of the previous scheme has been replaced by traditional style gable roofs. The building is to be finished predominantly in brick.

“The previous scheme was criticised for its substantial mass, roof design, material and haphazard elevational treatment and detailing. The result was a building that lacked a strong, legible and clearly articulated architectural style and failed to reinforce local distinctiveness. The new proposal better reflects the Design Guide for Towcester.”

Towcester Town Council had continued to object to the scheme, citing ‘over-intensification of the site’, a ‘lack of amenity space for residents’ and ‘inadequate parking’. But their concerns were unable to sway councillors on the SNC planning committee.

The decision to grant planning permission was welcomed by Stuart Goodwill, managing director of Churchill Retirement Living’s in-house planning consultancy, who said: “There is a compelling overall housing need in Towcester and the surrounding area, especially for older people, and our site is in a highly sustainable and accessible location for a new development of this kind, so we believe this decision is good news for the town.

“The new apartments will positively regenerate an underused brownfield site and make a positive contribution to the adjacent Conservation Area. Allowing older people to downsize will also help free up more homes for families and younger people in the local area.”