I went to presentation in the Assembly Rooms on Monday afternoon given by McCarthy and Stone, a development company that specialises in building homes for the elderly (generally considered to be those over 60!).
They are currently having discussions with North Devon District Council before they submit a planning application for 34 one and two bed roomed apartments behind Moors Yard, to the south of the Community Hospital and Eastleigh.
McCarthy and Stone have a good reputation, and whilst I’m always suspicious of developers, this largely looks like it could be ‘a good thing’ and fulfill a real need for some people. Although it certainly won’t be affordable by everybody. Prices are likely to be quite high, as will the service charge and there will be no social housing element (see also my final point).
The apartments will be spread over 2/3 floors with an even mix of 1-bed and 2-bed flats. The building will have two lifts, a community lounge, a house-manager on-site and a guest room. It will all be wheelchair accessible and special provision will be made for the needs of the more frail elderly.
There will be covered ‘parking’ for four mobility scooters (with charging points), and four disabled parking bays i.e. much wider than normal. There will be an additional 30 ordinary parking bays and four or five bays for visitors.
One of my major concerns is that the amount of parking is insufficient. Apart from the visitors’ parking, there ought to be more parking in each of the categories, including for mobility scooters.
The access to the complex is also somewhat problematic. Traffic will approach from the north i.e. it will come past the Community Hospital and then head south in front of Eastleigh.
The developers have said that they would ‘facilitate’ pedestrian/mobility scooter access to South Street via Moors Yard. This will be somewhat difficult as there is no public right of way, and it’s not exactly appropriate to have elderly pedestrians mixing with garage/workshop traffic.
My final issue is that this isn’t really for local people. I think it’s primarily aimed at retirees from elsewhere – London, Birmingham Manchester etc.
The sales pitch can be found on their website.
EDIT: This development has changed its name and is now called Squire Court.