March 10 2014 Latest news:
Friday, December 13, 2013
Plans to build 22 affordable homes on the site of a former March residential home have been shelved after councillors refused to give it the go ahead.
The Sanctuary Group wanted to build the homes on the site of the former Kingswood Park residential home which was controversially closed two years ago.
The scheme was set to be given the go ahead but during a planning committee hearing Councillor Jan French stepped in to say that more than 50 objections carried weight and should be listened to.
She said there were issues of flooding backed up by a report from Middle Level Commissioners who urged planners to turn the plan down.
Cllr French said that as well as flooding concerns: “The main reason for refusal is that this sort of development should be in the Masterplan for March and not piecemeal development.”
Steve Shannon, on behalf of the Kingswood Park Residents Committee, thanked councillors for looking at the bigger picture and All the local residents appreciate your time, effort and commitment to ensure the right thing is done for us and March.
He said: “It was gratifying to see the planning committee (or some of it) have the bigger picture view and the fact that this was the first application received in the identified area for strategic growth could have set an unwelcome precedence for future similar applications if approved.” The residential home, which used to house many dementia sufferers, was controversially closed by the Methodist Housing Association and Sanctuary Group, who owned the property, in October 2011, despite a major campaign from families, residents and day care users to keep it open.
A petition gathered nearly 1,700 signatures in less than two weeks but the closure went ahead.
Forty elderly people lost their home and staff were made redundant or re-deployed.
The building has since been demolished and since then it has had a planning application to build 33 dwellings, which was withdrawn, and now the latest plan, for 22 flats, which has been refused.
The aim was to provide affordable housing, including homes for people with learning disabilities.
The plan was scheduled to be given the go ahead until Cllr French stepped in to oppose the scheme.
The Sanctuary Group is a national housing and care provider, managing more than 94,000 homes throughout England and Scotland.