Planning officers have given the go-ahead in principle to a multi-million pound retirement village on the site of an eyesore former hospital in Northampton.
The plans by Cyprus-based Kayalef Holdings to covert the former St Edmunds’ Hospital site on Wellingborough Road into around 130 care apartments and a 62 bed specialist care home offering round-the-clock elderly support are due to go before Northampton Borough council’s planning board next week.
Papers released by the authority this afternoon show council officers have recommend planning board members approve the bid.
“It is considered that the broad principle of the development is acceptable and would result in significant public benefit in bringing a long vacant and derelict site back into a viable use,” the report states.
However as the plan would see ‘significant alterations’ made to the listed elements of the 1837 built former workhouse, with parts of it outlined for demolition, the plans have drawn objections from heritage protection organisations.
The Victorian Society says the former infirmary, school house and nurses’ accommodation are important parts of the ‘architectural and historic context of the former workhouse’.
The organisation wrote: “Due to the substantial and unjustified harm that would be caused by implementation of the works proposed, we object to the application and urge you to refuse it consent.”
Swan Valley based Very Healthcare Group has objected to the application because it says there is no demand for a retirement village at the St Edmund’s site.
Its previous owners, Rochmills, were granted permission for a care facility there in 2010, but never commenced building work.
However a 20 signature petition has been received by the borough council in support of the scheme, signed by those living in and around Exeter Place.
The petition demands to see the St Edmund’s site ‘sorted out as quickly as possible’, adding that it ‘has been an eyesore long enough,’ and has become a hotspot for fires, ‘squatters and antisocial behaviour’.
The planning committee meeting is due to take place on Tuesday, June 9, at 6pm in the Jeffrey Room of the Guildhall.