Hitchin sheltered scheme approved for former Minsden care home

PUBLISHED: 08:24 26 May 2018

An artist's impression of how the new sheltered housing scheme in Hitchin will look. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living

An artist's impression of how the new sheltered housing scheme in Hitchin will look. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living

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A Hitchin care home that was earmarked for housing is now to become retirement flats instead, after conditional planning permission was granted.

An artist's impression of how the new sheltered housing scheme in Hitchin will look. Picture: Churchill Retirement LivingAn artist's impression of how the new sheltered housing scheme in Hitchin will look. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living

Minsden, a care home off Wratten Road West, closed in 2015. North Herts District Council granted outline planning permission in 2016 for it to become 11 homes, but has now approved a plan for it to become a sheltered scheme of 53 apartments.

Minsden sits alongside the A602 Park Way and next to the Girton Court sheltered scheme, run by North Hertfordshire Homes.

The Churchill Retirement Living project will see Minsden and neighbouring Sheridan House demolished to make way for the new three-storey complex, which will include communal facilities and 26 parking spaces.

Andrew Burgess from Churchill Retirement Living said: “This is very positive news for Hitchin. I would like to thank everyone who has helped towards achieving this result, and commend North Herts District Council planning department for their collaborative approach and professionalism in the way this planning application was handled.

“We believe there is a compelling overall housing need in the local area, and helping older people to downsize will free up more family housing for younger people in and around the town.”

There were 16 objections against the plan from neighbours living in Russell’s Slip, just west of the site – who said the plan presented road safety issues, did not include enough car parking, would have too great a visual impact and should be scaled back to the 36-flat scheme originally proposed by Churchill.

Churchill Retirement Living leafleted about 480 neighbours and 20 businesses about the plan last year, with four responses – two in favour, one undecided and one objecting. The objectors from Russell’s Slip told the district council they had not been consulted at that stage.

The planning statement from Churchill Retirement Living, approved by the district council says the parking space ratio of 0.49 is significantly higher than the ratio of 0.32 normally provided by the firm, and that the site’s central location would reduce reliance on private cars.

Churchill Retirement Living, based in Hampshire, is behind Astonia Lodge in Stevenage. It is also seeking planning permission for a scheme in Royston’s Mill Road.

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