Support for flagship care village project

PUBLISHED: 17:16 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:09 30 May 2010

An artist’s masterplan impression of the proposed project (Picture: SUBMITTED)

An artist’s masterplan impression of the proposed project (Picture: SUBMITTED)

A FLAGSHIP project to build a new village designed to promote independence for the elderly has received backing from a Dunmow action group. The Wellbeing Village has been proposed for a site south of Felsted at Hartford End near to Mill Lane, and could

A FLAGSHIP project to build a new village designed to promote independence for the elderly has received backing from a Dunmow action group.

The 'Wellbeing Village' has been proposed for a site south of Felsted at Hartford End near to Mill Lane, and could be occupied by up to 157 people in need of care.

It would be the first self-contained community of its kind built in the Uttlesford district.

Tom McGuirk, spokesman for Grey Matters, a community group designed to promote the welfare of elderly residents, gave his backing to the project.

He said: "We would happily support any project that promotes independence for elderly people.

"It is great to keep them active and let them live dignified and long happy lives."

The new village will convert the existing disused Hartford End Brewery site into 57 self contained flats and 50 bedrooms. It will also provide onsite facilities such as a restaurant, spa, gym, bowling green, swimming pool, and shopping facilities.

If accepted the build is likely to take 18 months to two years to complete.

Speaking on behalf of developers Hertford End Development Ltd, Robert Pomery, associate director for surveyors Andrew Martin Associates, believes the project to be the most practical use of the land.

He said: "The buildings have been empty for two years and following extensive marketing, no one has come forward with a new use for the site.

"As the market conditions deteriorate, the likelihood of its redevelopment decreases severely. Even a conversion to a full housing scheme would not be supported by the funding institutions.

"However, we think the Wellbeing Village concept is a growing market which is not necessarily dependant on borrowings.

"The scheme has financial backing from the banks and the location of this site also works, as the elderly in need of care are low traffic generators and many of their needs are met by the bespoke on-site facilities."

A traffic survey conducted at the site has indicated that on average six extra cars would pass by the site very hour during the day.

Mr Pomery added: "The building is a local landmark and part of the local heritage. This proposal will retain its character, meet local demand for this type of property and will provide additional facilities and jobs for local residents."

Although a planning decision has yet to be made, Uttlesford District Council will have the final say before March 23. Local people have been invited to submit any comments on the plans before January 21.

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