Uttlesford District Council approves 'Wellbeing Village' plans

PUBLISHED: 18:27 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 07:24 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 been given the green light. A Wellbeing Village will be built at a site south of Felsted at Hartford End near to Mill Lane, and could be occupied by up to 157

A FLAGSHIP project to build a new village designed to promote independence for the elderly has been given the green light.

A 'Wellbeing Village' will be built at 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.

The new village, which was passed by Uttlesford's development control committee today (Wednesday), 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 - it will be completed in around 18 months to two years.

Councillors agreed the plans in principle but will be scrutinising car parking and access. They also insisted that a private mini bus service should be included in the plans.

Cllr Christina Cant said: "People will come by car because the local bus service is long and slow. It is not a sustainable venue and the facilities included should only be used by residents.

"It needs additional car parking which will need serious looking at when the next stage of the application comes in."

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

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

"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."

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."

The project had already received backing from Great Dunmow action group, Grey Matters, earlier this year, when the plans first surfaced.

Group spokesman Tom McGuirk said: "We 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."

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