Retirement flats on old school site
ANEW retirement development boasting 72 affordable apartments is to be built on the site of a former independent school.
Planners have given the go-ahead for specialist over-55s accommodation at the vacant Focus School site, in Heaton Mersey, Stockport.
The four-storey block will house a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, while the development also includes 10 ‘high quality’ semis for general market sale.
Featuring a roof garden with long range views, it will replace the ‘run down’ old school buildings and also occupy the disused playing field.
The Anwyl Developments
scheme was broadly welcomed when it went before a meeting of the council’s planning committee.
Cllr John Taylor, who represents Heatons North, spoke in favour of the plans for the Didsbury Road site.
“We became very aware this site has been empty for four years,” he said, referring to a recent site visit by councillors.
“It’s very dilapidated, the actual buildings that are on it, and it’s crying out for redevelopment.”
However, he did raise some concerns about the overlooking of properties further down Didsbury Road and ensuring protected species were not disrupted.
Cllr Roy Driver agreed the scheme was ‘very, very welcome’, given it was a ‘difficult site’ which had been left vacant for a number of years.
However, he did have some reservations over how traffic would safely enter and exit the new development.
“The access in and out of the site will be on to quite a busy road, Didsbury Road, which is near to the traffic light junction,” he said.
“So I think some careful attention needs to be given to how that’s designed so that people can safely turn either left on to Didsbury Road or right on to Didsbury Road going towards the town centre.
He also raised some doubts over how affordable the accommodation may be.
“I’m reserving judgement about how affordable it may be compared to other sites,” he said. “It’s probably way beyond my means anyway, but never mind.”
Cllr Brian Bagnall also expressed concerns over the possible impact on traffic on Didsbury Road.
“If people start to park on that road, it’s really going to be a problem,” he said. “I think we ought to keep a bit of a watching brief on that.
He noted that the site was ‘a mess at the minute’ – but hoped this development would be brought to fruition.
“It’s had a number of previous applications that have been granted on this,” Cllr Bagnall told the meeting.
“As with all these things, we can’t make sure they are delivered once they are there.
“I would hope this is delivered this time, because it’s in a very good location.
“People are going to want to live there and I think we just need to crack on.”
The proposed apartment block is predominantly three storeys in height but also has two four-storey sections.
It boasts a reception and residents’ lounge, while further facilities include an office, laundry, buggy store, plant room and refuse store.
The main residents’ car park has 27 spaces – including six disabled bays – while there would be 18 spaces in a visitor car park at the top of the site.
It is anticipated that the development will have a warden, with residents having access to a 24-hour staffed management system and the option of care should they need it.
Meanwhile, the redbrick semis fronting Didsbury Road each boast four bedrooms, rear and side gardens and two parking spaces.