Retirement homes developer, McCarthy & Stone, emerged victorious from a two-hour debate among Cheshire East councillors over whether the scheme, to be built on part of the King’s School estate in Macclesfield, should be given permission.
The development, now approved, will see the construction of two blocks containing a total of 89 flats for retirees on the corner of Westminster Road and Coare Street in Macclesfield.
A total of 31 of the flats would be occupied by retirees, typically in their seventies on entry, according to Chris Butt, associate director at McCarthy & Stone. The larger block with the remainder of the flats would house older, more frail residents, mainly in their eighties and older, requiring 24-hour care.
Councillors in Wednesday’s meeting raised concerns over traffic congestion, oversupply of such accommodation and lack of affordable housing provision. But they eventually voted to approve the project by seven votes to four.
Cllr Fiona Wilson, Labour councillor for Macclesfield Town Council, said that an agreed £85,000 contribution towards affordable housing, was too low and “flew in the face of the Cheshire East local plan”, which states affordable housing is under-supplied in the area.
Meanwhile, Cheshire East Council’s planning officer Peter Hooley countered concerns over traffic levels on Coare Street, and said that the road’s congestion issues were pre-existing and could not be used as a reason to refuse the scheme.
Separate proposals from developer Hillcrest Homes, which were deferred in January, include provision for 42 apartments for elderly people. Cllr Nick Mannion, who eventually voted against the approval, argued that that two similar schemes in close proximity would result in oversupply of this type of accommodation.
In 2018, The King’s School sold its estate to three developers – Bellway Homes, McCarthy & Stone and Hillcrest Homes – which plan to bring forward a combined total of up to 450 homes.
The school is relocating to a £60m facility in nearby Prestbury.