Retirement complex plans rejected

What the new retirement complex could look like.

The plans for the corner of New Street in Wem were rejected by Shropshire Council planning offers on the grounds of over-development and “inadequate” garden space.

Concerns were also raised that the proposed four-storey building would be overbearing to nearby properties and would cause harm to the town’s conservation area and the setting of nearby listed buildings.

The scheme would have seen a series of buildings on the site demolished to make way for the L-shaped block, which would wrap around the corner towards the entrance of Wem Business Park.

The plans were for 26 two-bed flats and 11 one-beds, along with guest and managers’ accommodation, communal living areas and outdoor amenity space.

When the proposals were first lodged in 2020 they were for a total of 39 apartments but this was later reduced.

A report by planning officer Jane Preece says developments of over 20 houses or flats should include open space of 30 square metres per bedroom – in this case totalling 1950 square metres.

The applicant did not provide a total figure for the proposed open space in the application documents, but Ms Preece says officers have calculated that it equates to less than a quarter of the required provision.

The report concludes: “It is considered that the proposal will constitute over-development and result in an unsatisfactory residential environment for future occupants by virtue of a failure to provide an adequate level of residential amenity, particularly in relation to private amenity and inadequate on-site open space provision.

“It will have unacceptable consequences for neighbouring amenity to the north by virtue of overbearing development and overshadowing, and will cause less than substantial harm to designated heritage assets by virtue of scale and mass.

“It is recognised that the proposed redevelopment may have the potential to deliver some housing, economic and public benefits.

“However, in view of the factors of harm that have been identified, as set out in the foregoing and arising from the over-development of the site as proposed, then it is considered that these public benefits are not outweighed by these contributory factors of harm nor any other material planning consideration.”

A design and access statement by DGA Architects, agent to the applicant, said an experienced operator was already lined up to run the facility, which would provide “high-quality and in demand accommodation”, while also creating a small number of jobs.

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