Former Stevenage care home to become flats
- Credit: Archant
A FORMER care home is to be turned into apartments despite claims that the council “isn’t getting a good deal”.
The 40-bed facility in Stevenage will be partially demolished before becoming 24 one and two-bedroom flats after the majority of members on Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee voted in favour of the scheme last night (Tuesday).
None of the flats in Drakes Drive will be used for affordable housing, with the borough council instead set to receive £50,000 from Charterwood Homes Ltd to be spent on social housing elsewhere.
The money was offered as the developer was unable to meet a social housing provision of 35% – equating to nine homes – after demonstrating to the council it was not “financially viable”.
“What can we do with that, we’d struggle to get one council property for £50,000,” said borough councillor Hugh Tessier, speaking at last night’s meeting.
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“It seems we’re losing lots of potential council houses just to make this scheme viable. I don’t think we’re getting a good deal.”
Responding, the council’s development manager Dave Rusling said it was the “best deal” the council could get, and warned that if the scheme was not agreed but permission was granted on appeal the council could lose out on the money altogether.
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The application was also criticised for the number of parking spaces being provided.
A total of 30 spaces will be built for residents – three less than what the borough council recommended – but Cllr Robin Parker believes even the original number was insufficient.
“The parking provision for this proposal is in my view well below what’s needed,” said Cllr Parker, who does not sit on the planning committee but represents the Manor ward.
“The problem is 33 spaces is totally inadequate. Their calculations are not right as people have lots of cars these days. I can see Drakes Drive and surrounding areas being very badly affected by this.
“I get nothing else but parking enquiries and problems and this is going to be another one that’s going to make it even worse.”
During the meeting the council’s senior planning officer Tim Havers addressed parking concerns, highlighting the nearby bus stop and cycleway as alternative means of transport.
The site became available for housing last year after residents at the Newhaven care home moved to a newly built 90-bed facility in Jubilee Court.