OAP specialist builder McCarthy & Stone have been given the go ahead to build flats on the centris site – but although it could play home to up to 100 residents, plus cater for carers,visitors and staff there will only be 27 car parking spaces.
Plans to build sheltered accommodation for well off octogenarians on the former Pirelli (Park 21) site have been approved as being preferable to the boarded up wasteland which has been an eyesore on Leigh Road for the last eight years.
Scarcity of parking is already an issue on the Park 21 site and recently double yellow lines were introduced to Sopwith Road which borders the development.
Originally the land had been reserved for offices which would have provided up to 320 much needed local jobs to replace those shed by the Pirelli works.
However the development failed to materialise. There has been a slump in office building which predates the recession due to overcapacity. Eastleigh council – a major commercial landlord in the town centre – is itself unable to find tenants for all of its office space.
However Eastleigh Local Area Committee heard that builder McCarthy and Stone’s plans, though contrary to current planning policy, would provide some limited employment – and further jobs would be created by a Co-op late night convenience store which will also be built on the site.
Additionally, the plans include provision for three ‘affordable houses’.
In discussing the proposal the chair of ELAC Cllr Chris Thomas complained that in his opinion, lobbying by agents of the developers had been ‘close to the line’ and possibly ‘in breach of the spirit of the rules’ – recently Southend Council rejected McCarthy and Stone’s plans for retirement flats with some councillor’s complaining of lobbying.
However the leader of the Independent group of Eastleigh Councillors Glynn Davies-Dear said that although he too had been contacted, he did not feel that he had subjected to any improper attempt at influence.
The proposed development will consist of 54 assisted living flats 38 of which will be single bedroom and 16 double beroomed. There will also be communal facilities including a restaurant.
The plans, including provision for the Co-op store were unanimously approved.
Last year the council refused planning permission for the Co–op to build a convenience store next to sheltered housing on Hursley road after residents, who included many elderly and infirm people in their 70s and 80s, successfully opposed the proposals on the grounds of late night noise and nuisance.
Eastleigh council has recently granted planning permission for for a 61 bed motel with no car parking spaces at all.