12:32 Wednesday 06 March 2013

Bishop's Stortford retirement homes plan moves a step closer

Written byELEANOR PATMORE

The South Street Commercial Centre in Bishops Stortford The South Street Commercial Centre in Bishops Stortford

THE first phase of ambitious plans to regenerate an important gateway into Bishop’s Stortford has been granted planning consent.

Churchill Retirement Living has won approval to demolish the dilapidated South Street Commercial Centre to make way for 50 retirement homes.

The retail premises at 71-77 South Street, which fall within the conservation zone, are currently home to Polish delicatessen Polski Sklep, takeways Master Fryer, Shekos and Pizza Line, and the Baby Boy Tattoo Studio.

Several conditions have been laid down by planning authority East Herts District Council, including that demolition shall not begin before permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the site to ensure “the historic and architectural character of the locality is not disrupted by a vacant site for any lengthy period of time”.

Churchill revealed its proposed sheltered housing scheme for the eyesore town centre site in January. The complex of 52 self-contained flats would be overseen by Millstream Management Services and would provide accommodation for a lodge manager, car parking and 432 sq m of retail floor space.

Residents would have access to a range of communal facilities, such as a lounge area, treatment room, guest suite for overnight visitors and garden.

A report on the need for more private retirement housing in East Herts, which was submitted as part of Churchill’s application, says that the number of people over 65 in the district is expected to grow by 18,300 - an increase of 84.7 per cent - by 2035.

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