By Bridie Adams

PLANS for a new retirement community have had extensive changes after people voiced their disapproval in a Herefordshire council consultation.

The plans for a 53-home retirement community in the market town of Ledbury were initially submitted to the council in September last year but faced significant opposition from the public.

Most of the objections accused the planners of designing a building that was too large, at four storeys in height.

Glyn Ogden from Ledbury said: “I object to the proposal. The height of the building is far too great and not at all similar in any respect to any of the surrounding houses, who without a doubt, will all be affected in some way if the building is constructed.


“Given my home is located directly opposite, I am acutely aware of the negative impact this proposed building will have.

“The local householders who surround the site will have to live with the long-term disturbance, noise, dust and dirt during any construction phase and then with the consequences of the outlandish scale of the building.”

Andrew Joines, another resident of Ledbury, also complained that “The proposed building height is out of character and will be an eyesore.”

The developers, McCarthy Stone, have worked with the council to address the comments by reducing the scale of the building and re-considering its architectural style.

The original pastiche Tudor design has been replaced with a more contemporary approach including dormer windows, bespoke brick balconies, timber-style gables and a traditional material palette of red brick and render.

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The new design for the Homend site is currently out for re-consultation.

Katie Fisher, a managing director at McCarthy Stone, stated: “After extensive work with Herefordshire Council to progress the plans, we are delighted to see our retirement community go out for re-consultation.

“This development will not only help to address a demand in the area but would also see a substantial economic boost to the local high street. Our research shows that McCarthy Stone residents typically use local shops and services often and would provide a vital boost to businesses in Ledbury town centre, helping to support local retail jobs and keep shops and businesses that make up the heart of the local community open.”

If approved, independent research has determined that the new residents would be expected to generate around £408,000 of spending annually on the local high street.

The Ledbury neighbourhood development plan also emphasises the need to meet housing requirements of the ageing population.

Ms Fisher added: “There is a real need for specialist retirement apartments. A 53-home community in Ledbury would allow other people at differing stages of the housing ladder the opportunity to move into their ideal home in Ledbury.”

However, a resident named Trea Connon said in her objection letter that she did not believe more specialist retirement homes were needed.

“At any one time there is plenty of choice for people who want to purchase and move into specialist housing for the elderly in Ledbury,” she said, citing dozens of existing retirement homes on the market.

Some residents of Ledbury have also argued that the addition of 53 homes to the town would put a further strain on local health services and availability of parking spaces.

Ms Connon said: “We would expect to see some contribution made to the cost of health and care provision, affordable housing, the improvement of the pavement, etc from the scheme in Ledbury.”