Sandpits Road maisonettes to be demolished to make way for homes for the elderly – a scheme Ludlow will be proud of

South Shropshire Housing association has announced plans to demolish the maisonettes on Sandpits Road. The block will be replaced with four two-bed bungalows and 22 apartments (10 two-bed and 12 one-bed). The new homes will be provided as affordable rented properties solely for the use of frail and elderly people on the Council Housing Register.

Beech Gardens[1] is an excellent scheme. The town is very much in need of sheltered accommodation like this. Along with councillors Tracey Huffer and Viv Parry, I fully support the scheme.[2] The town council’s representational committee has also given its support.

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When the maisonettes were built in the 1960s, they were a great place to live. Sadly, they did not stand the test of time. Their condition deteriorated and with their design, it was impractical to bring them up to modern standards for accommodation, access and sound and heat insulation. For some years, the properties and most of the gardens have looked neglected.

Beech Gardens has been designed using HAPPI principles.[3] The plans have been modelled on Pilgrim Gardens, an award winning retirement development in Evington, Leicester.

The design allows for maximum light to reach the properties. The bungalows on Sandpits Road restore the original street line – a nice design feature. They are placed so as to avoid damage to the beech and lime trees. The low height of the bungalows ensures that sun will reach the apartments in the winter.

The apartments face southwest. They are provided with ‘winter gardens’ – outdoors spaces with glazed sliding/folding screens which can be closed to shut out inclement weather.

The scheme will be built in Ibstock Multi‐Cream Stock brick with roofing of blue‐black Eternit slates. Mock chimneys hide flues and vent pipes.

The scheme provides external space, including a boules/petanque court, for residents to meet with a communal garden area that is easy to maintain, reducing service costs for residents. Solar panels on the roof of the apartments will provide supplementary power for external lighting and the lift, again reducing service costs. Parking and charging points are provided for disability scooters. The scheme will contain 18 car park spaces.

A pathway will link to the existing Whitefriars sheltered housing, giving Beech Close residents access to the existing community centre. The entrances to the new development will be secured with metal gates.

This scheme will go ahead quickly. There are currently no obstacles to planning permission, which is expected in early 2016. The project is part-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and must be complete by 2018. So we should see construction start next year.

The design of Beech Gardens looks superb and I am sure it will be a great to live in. I am confident that the future tenants, the housing association and Ludlow as a whole will be proud of Beech Gardens.

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[1]. The housing association is planning to name the scheme Beech Gardens but that will depend on post office and council approval.

[2]. I would not usually declare my views at this stage on an application that might come to South Planning Committee. However, my views are predetermined in favour of this scheme. The application is also unlikely to come committee as neither councillor Tracey Huffer or the town council have called it in.

[3]. The Housing our Aging Population: Panel for Innovation produced a ground-breaking report in 2009 that set out innovative new standards on providing in housing for the elderly (HAPPI). See also the 2012 All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, HAPPI 2.
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