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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Call for rethink over Carlisle retirement flats plan

Developer McCarthy & Stone is being asked to rethink plans for retirement flats on the site of a former social club in Carlisle.

Waverley Gardens photo
Waverley Gardens in Belah, Carlisle

The company had applied for planning permission to build 42 apartments on what used to be St Augustine’s social club in Waverley Gardens, off Scotland Road.

The city council received six letters of objections and a 48-signature petition against the scheme, arguing that its scale and height would overpower neighbouring bungalows.

But when it went before councillors on Friday, they were more concerned that too many of the apartments would have only one bedroom.

The plans show 28 one-bedroom and only 14 two-bedroom apartments, plus a guest suite.

The development control committee is asking McCarthy & Stone to alter the scheme to include more two-bed flats.

Labour’s Jessica Riddle, a former director of Age UK in Carlisle, said: “One-bedroom flats are for many older people just not acceptable.”

And Conservative Ray Bloxham said: “A number of housing associations are going away from one-bedroom apartments. Where they have got them, they can’t let them and they’re having to knock two into one.”

Councillor Bryan Craig added that the 24 parking spaces proposed would probably not be enough.

Planning officers had recommended that councillors approve the scheme.

The social club closed in 2008 and has since been used as a parish centre.

McCarthy & Stone’s proposal is the second attempt to develop the site.

The Roman Catholic diocesan trustees obtained planning consent for 16 semi-detached homes in 2009.

But the downturn in the housing market put off potential developers.

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