Plans to build a new retirement village in Stapleford have been given the go ahead, despite some concerns it could be an “eyesore” on the landscape. Outline approval was granted on appeal to build the retirement village on land between Haverhill Road and Hinton Way in 2021. The latest application sets out in more detail what the retirement village would look like and facilities it would offer.
The development is set to include 147 homes, a mixture of flats and bungalows, as well as a two-storey pavilion building offering a restaurant, cafe, bar, shop, gym, wellness area, and swimming pool. The plans include 139 car parking spaces for people living in the retirement village, staff and visitors. The land next to the retirement village is proposed to be turned into a countryside park which would be open to public use.
Howard Nankivell, CEO of Rangeford Villages Ltd, the company behind the plans, told councillors at a South Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee meeting earlier today (February 8), that the company created “thriving communities” where people could “enjoy their later years”. He said: “Residents in our existing communities tell me regularly how delighted they are they made the decision to move in.”
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Mr Nankivell said the company had spoken to the community when preparing the plans and had undertaken “significant” pre-application discussions with council officers. However, Councillor Jenny Flynn, from Stapleford Parish Council, said there were still concerns they had about the proposals.
She highlighted the proposed pavilion, likening the design to a “retail supermarket” adding that it had “no design references to any buildings in Stapleford”. She said it was an “eyesore” and suggested it should be redesigned removing one of the floors so that a pitched roof could be created instead of a flat roof.
Cllr Flynn said the parish council also had concerns that the number of car parking spaces proposed would not be enough for people living there, visitors and staff. She said this could lead to a dispersal of cars from the development into the “narrow streets” in Stapleford.
Councillor Henry Batchelor highlighted that Cambridgeshire County Council as the highway authority had not raised any objection to the plans, or raised any particular concerns about cars being dispersed into surrounding streets. He said he could not see any material planning reason for the committee to refuse the planning application.
Councillor Peter Sandford said he was “a little bit concerned” about the parish council’s comments about the design of the pavilion. He suggested the developer could work on the design to find a compromise. Councillor Dr Martin Cahn said the development could bring “major benefits”, highlighting the countryside park in particular. However he said changing arable land to a countryside park would take time and said the developer would need to work with specialists.
He added that he did not have concerns around the design of the buildings, saying he “quite liked” the modern design, and that the pavilion “could be quite a nice feature”. Councillor Heather Williams said she “sympathised” with the concerns around the flat roof of the pavilion building, but said it had been explained why it was proposed to be flat due to height restrictions put in place in the outline application.
She stressed that what materials were chosen would be “really important” adding that a lot could be done with the materials to help the site “fit in better with the environment”. When the application was put to a vote the committee councillors voted unanimously to support it.
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