Plans to build a business park on derelict land in Eastleigh town centre – providing up to 320 much needed local jobs – could be scrapped in favour of building more retirement flats.
Retirement homes specialist McCarthy and Stone are already advertising the ‘assisted living’ apartments they intend to build on the ‘Centris’ site although they have not yet even applied for planning permission.
The Park 21 plot, on the site of the former Pirelli factory, has been left undeveloped for 5 years. When granting consent for Park 21 the council had stipulated that there should be provision for business and jobs on the site to replace those lost to the town when Pirelli left and in order to provide employment for the new residents, however apart from demolishing the Pirelli buildings and erecting a perimeter fence no work was ever started.
With 5000 people on the housing list in Eastleigh there is a desperate need for affordable housing, but the proposed development is aimed at affluent over 55 year olds.
A similar Macarthy and Stone development in Bournemouth had 2 bed apartments priced up to £235,000 and came with service charges of £410 per month excluding meals.
McCarthy and Stone were forced to axe 120 head office staff in 2008 as the downturn meant that elderly clients were unable to sell their own properties to finance the purchase of retirement flats.
However they now believe that the recession is now over and that the housing market will soon ‘recover’ to the previously unsustainable levels of 2007.
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