NEARLY 90 new extra care apartments are proposed at a former school.
The outline development, for 43 one bedroom apartments with a second bedroom intended for guests and 44 two bedroom apartments, has been put forward by Cheshire County Council at the Gorsthills community primary school site on Berry Drive in Great Sutton.
The part single storey, part two storey school buildings have been demolished, according to a report.
The application excludes the majority of the playing fields at the school.
It is part of a bid by the county council to develop 200 extra care apartments out of a total development of 400 apartments on four sites across Cheshire, councillors are due to hear on Tuesday (January 13).
The scheme includes a 40 parking spaces.
Half the apartments would be open market and half either social rented or shared ownership.
There would be four full time staff and eight part time.
Extra care combines housing, care and support services for older people, typically over 55, with a 24 hour on site care team and a range of on site support and communal facilities, councillors will be told.
With a growing population of over 65s, and over 85s in particular, extra care provides for elderly people with a range of abilities and requiring varying levels of care.
It offers opportunity for independence within a secure environment to meet their varying needs in retirement.
A community village in the accommodation, which would also be available to non residents, would include a fitness and wellbeing studio, a treatment room, hairdressing, a hobby/craft room, an IT/reading room, a dining area, lounge and “village hall”.
There would also be a residents' launderette and a separate lounge together with a communal garden including a greenhouse.
The three storey building would be setback 40m from Berry Drive and landscaping and trees at the front of the school would be retained.
The development would have a traditional pitched roof and balconies.
It is intended the remainder of the school site would become community open space and the county council says it would carry out public consultation on the future use of the playing fields.
Tall trees are proposed on the boundary with the adjacent Sutton Hall water treatment works to provide screening.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised the borough council there are sufficient reasons on safety grounds to advise against planning permission.
Although it says the likelihood of a major accident at the water treatment works is “small” it feels the risks to people in the vicinity should be considered.
Neighbours are concerned the building would be out of character with two storey housing in the residential area.
They point out it would be 50m from housing on the opposite side the road and should be moved further away.
Residents believe their views have not been adequately taken into account and argue the wider community benefits provided by the accommodation do not override their concerns.
They believe Berry Drive, which they described as “narrow”, is unsuitable for increased traffic and it would not be practical for it to become a bus route.
Occupiers feel they will suffer noise and disruption and have suggested bungalows would be more suitable.
It has also been suggested the site should be retained for school use given possible housing development in Ledsham and on Green Lane.
Commenting on the HSE advice, planning officers say the fact of the site was previously occupied by a school is a factor.
They point out that if the borough council grants permission, the HSE will have the opportunity to consider whether the development should be called in by the secretary of state.
It is not felt the development would adversely affect the character of the area, says the report and planning officers point out that very few trees would be removed.
Traffic on Berry Drive would be lower than when Gorsthills was open as a school.
The application is recommended for approval, subject to 26 conditions, to a meeting of Ellesmere Port and Neston planning committee taking place on Tuesday at 6.15pm at the Civic Offices in Ellesmere Port.