RETIREMENT homes in Chester will be given a radical facelift as four look set to be razed to the ground to make way for modern alternatives.
Wain House in Saughall, Suffolk House on Francis Street in Chester and Hoole House have already received planning permission while an application for a similar overhaul at Kings Lea House, Great Boughton will be submitted within a fortnight.
Chester and District Housing Trust are replacing their existing homes because their ageing facilities do not meet new requirements.
In total, 135 new apartments available only for the over 55s will be created.
Hoole House will be torn down at the start of next year to make way for a “drastically larger” building, with three storeys replacing the present two expected to be finished in January 2011.
Last week, residents returned for one last coffee morning having all been rehomed.
The 22 bedsits will be replaced with 36 two-bed flats including 24 apartments for rent and 12 available on shared ownership schemes.
Michael Spear, a resident of neighbouring Alderney House, had argued the scale of the building was “completely disproportionate to the other properties in the street”, and will “alter the environment and landscape in a very detrimental way.”
But CDHT says the building is needed to meet demand.
Danielle Harrison, development officer at CDHT, said: “Some of the residents weren’t happy with the thought of having to move.
“They have two-bed rooms so they can have family or a carer to stay and sometimes couples need seperate beds for medical reasons.
“When properties become available, they’re increasingly less popular with new tenants and they’re no longer fit for purpose.
“Past 2010, the way Supporting People Funding is worked, these aren’t classed as suitable for sheltered accomodation.”
Elsewhere, depsite much more protest from locals, Wain House, on Rake Way, Saughall has been earmarked for destruction to make way for another development with 27 two-bed and 10 one-bed homes.
Dozens signed a petition pleading with planners to change their decision to scrap neighbouring bungalows to make space for the project.
But alternative accomodation has been found for all but one of the inhabitants and Wain House and the bungalows will be razed to the ground with work beginning at the start of 2010 and scheduled to take a year.
Paul and Dolores Whitton, of neighbouring Darlington Crescent, submitted an objection in August which stated: “It will totally overwhelm and dominate this area of the village and is more inkeeping with an urban location.
“The demolition of five perfectly well constructed 30-year-old bungalows is totally unnecessary and a waste of tax-payers money.”
Widespread condemnation had greeted intial plans for part of the building to be three-storey so the developers backed down and agreed on a two-storey option.
Ms Harrison added: “A number of residents voiced concern they wanted to stay in the village but we don’t have that much stock in the village.
“It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly to demolish those bungalows.
“We took it down a storey and kept as much open space as we could and increased the parking spaces.”
CDHT say they have asked for “an element of local labour” to be used during the building process.
Plans for the first of the bedsit schemes to be conceived, at Suffolk House, have been delayed for several years by service diversions and the need to get asbestos off the site but that will be completed in July.
Housing 32 two-bed rooms in a four-storey building situated next to Thackeray Towers, Suffolk House was initially going to be five storeys until opposition curtailed the hosuing trust’s plan.
The development will include the improvement of the corner of Leadworks Lane but has come under fire from some.
Hilary Crowther, who lives on nearby Egerton Street, objected on the grounds that: “The design of the development is poor, showing a lack of appreciation for the character of the conservation area and nearby listed buildings.
“The choice of materials may be red brick but the style of the development is well below the high standards now expected in Chester. The existence of poor quality design in the adjacent tower blocks should not be used as a precedent for continued poor design.”
Another home with out-of-date shared bathroom accomodation now facing demolition is King’s Lea House, Heather Court, Great Boughton.
Funding for a rebuild was secured in April when the process of moving the 20 residents out began.
Extensive plans for a three-storey building would contain 30 apartments – 27 two-bed and three one-bed – are due to be submitted to planners in the next fortnight.
Ms Harrison added: “When they’ve found alternative accomodation they’re really quite happy with it.
“A lady from Kings Lea wrote a letter to John Denny (chief executive of CDHT) saying how happy she was.”